Dr. Vail is such an amazingly skilled surgeon and lovely gentle, humble human being that I would give him the highest recommendations to anyone considering a BHR or THR. Dr. Vail has performed bilateral BHRs on me and I am a new woman thanks to him!
I had my left hip resurfaced by Vail 6 weeks ago, on December 22nd, 2009, and I just came back from a weekend in Tahoe, snowshoeing, swimming and otherwise moving around easily on my new hips. Dr. Vail resurfaced my right hip just 5 months before, on July 21, 2009. I was 48 when I had my right hip resurfaced and 49 when I had my left hip resurfaced.
I saw Vail after having seen two surgeons in the East SF Bay both of whom said I needed arthroscopy. The first surgeon referred to me by my primary physician, Dr. Kenneth Caldwell, is not a hip surgeon so his opinion can be discounted. The second surgeon I saw, Dr. Thomas Peatman at Webster Orthopedic, is one of the Raiders Team doctors. Two years in a row, Peatman insisted that I would only need to have arthroscopy and that I didn’t need BHRs or THRs on my hips. I did extensive research to find a second opinion and found that most people with advanced arthritis had unsuccessful hip arthroscopies. And, thankfully, I found Vail.
Within minutes of my first visit he gently broke the bad news that I would need either a BHR or THR, my choice as to which. I asked him which he would do himself or recommend to a family member and he said BHR if they had that as an option. From that day forward I have had only the most intelligent, respectful, and thoughtful communication from Dr. Vail and his staff.
My surgeries each went very well. My hospital visits were very good and my post-op care has been as good as I have needed. Dr. Vail visited me twice in the hospital after each surgery and his chief residents/fellow also visited several times. Everyone working with Vail has such complete respect and devotion to him, from his residents on down to his office assistants.
After my first BHR Vail’s previous chief resident said that he pioneered BHR in the U.S. and that he was one of the top hip surgeons in the country. His current fellow (post-residency doc), Dr. Caravelli, said that Vail is such an incredible surgeon that when he performs THRs he usually doesn’t require any limitations or restrictions on movement.
I had difficulty finding much information out about Vail prior to my first appointment with him, because he is relatively new to UCSF, they are a teaching hospital and thus don’t focus on promotion and I believe because he is so humble and doesn’t have a big ego. He truly wants to help people regain mobility and heal. I have been extremely happy with my BHRs and really feel that I owe my renewed life force to Vail.
Per your comment, “…many surgeons bad mouth hip resurfacing for females.”, this is news to me. Dr. Vail was very clear that this was a good option for me and I did not find anything in my research to the contrary. I have been athletic all my life beginning very young and have strong bone structure, so though I am recently menopausal, I was a good candidate due to my bone density, high level of physical activity and age. My understanding is that the reason that some women are not good candidates is due to the decrease in bone density post-menopause or due to anatomy. Dr. Vail was very forthright in neutrally presenting my options and very collaborative in the decisions about my course of action and care.
I have not yet skied, nor done many of the activities I look forward to returning to as I want to make sure I have sufficient muscle strength to avoid falls and other injuries, but when I do I will send you a photo so you can post it.