Tom's Life Was Transformed Through Total Joint Replacement

Tom Silvia of Plymouth sits at his kitchen table

Plymouth resident Tom Silvia is no stranger to pain and endurance. In fact, the now active 67-year-old suffered from polio at the age of six. Initially paralyzed from the neck down, Tom endured years of therapy, spent a week in an iron lung and worked his way from a wheelchair to crutches in a year’s time. After close to a decade of hard work and perseverance, Tom progressed to a healthy, active teenager.

As the years passed, however, arthritis— which stemmed from Tom’s taxing health journey as a young man—caused debilitating joint pain. Within a six-year period, Tom had both hips and one knee replaced with Michael Rowland, MD. “I remember when Tom first came to see me. He had researched hip replacements and specifically made an appointment with me. After three total joint replacements, I am certainly very pleased with Tom’s results and improvement in function,” said Dr. Rowland.

Dr. Rowland is among the talented group of board-certified orthopedic surgeons who sees patients at South Shore Orthopedics and South Shore Medical Center. He and the entire team of joint replacement specialists effectively collaborate to ensure successful outcomes for patients who will benefit from total joint replacement.

“I was immediately impressed with Dr. Rowland’s great bedside manner,” said Tom. “He was informative from the start, even going out of his way to make sure I knew what to expect next.” Five years after Tom’s first hip replacement, arthritic pain in his knee became unbearable, and he knew it was time to give Dr. Rowland a call again. “I knew that I would undoubtedly have another positive and effective experience from start to finish,” Tom said.

Alicia DelPrete, RN, Orthopedic Nurse Navigator, finds joy helping patients successfully navigate through the entire process.

“Our goal has been and always will be to guide each patient through a timeline of expectations, and deliver the best possible outcomes in the process.”

“Tom is one of those stellar patients, someone who takes instruction and with hard work and dedication, flourishes very quickly,” Alicia said.

Just about a year ago, Tom again returned to Dr. Rowland and had another successful total right hip replacement. “The experience was fantastic,” Tom said. “Before leaving South Shore Hospital, my sister came to visit and couldn’t stop talking about how much she loved the dedicated inpatient floor, private rooms, and how warm and attentive the entire nursing staff was.”

Physical therapy is extremely important in the overall outcome of any joint replacement surgery. The goals of physical therapy are to strengthen muscles through controlled exercise, while preventing healing muscles from getting too tight.

At South Shore Hospital, we believe the patient is the most important partner in the healing process. After surgery, patients are prepared to take an active role in their own care by having physical therapy support in the gym located on the dedicated orthopedic floor. “I was given a series of home exercises starting with 10 repetitions,” Tom said. “By the time I went home on Friday, I was already way ahead of my goal, doing 25 reps twice a day,” he recalled.

Tom is now pain-free and living life to the fullest, enjoying leisurely outdoor activities, traveling with his wife of 42 years, and spending quality time with his children and grandchildren.