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Karen Hardmeyer

Belmar, NJ
  • Karen Hardmeyer in the photo 1

I had gone to another orthopedic surgeon for sciatica and back pain. I was treated with physical therapy and cortisone injections, yet the pain persisted over a two-year period, to the point where I could barely walk. A once very active person, I was sidelined from all the physical things I enjoyed doing. Hiking, skiing and skating became pastimes. I was starting to feel old, yet I had so much life ahead of me, only being 57 years old. I couldn't even tie my shoes or walk my dog. The surgeon decided it was time to perform a spinal fusion to finally alleviate my pain.

But before committing to that procedure, I thought I should get another opinion and I'm so grateful I found both Dr. James Dowdell and Dr. Michael Ast. I first saw Dr. Dowdell, spinal surgeon. After an extensive intake and diagnostic imaging, he determined that my spine wasn't the source of my pain, but it was osteoarthritis in my hip. A simple imaging/injection procedure confirmed his suspicion. He was very thorough in his assessment, not jumping to 'let's do surgery!' like the previous doctor. In fact, his conservative and extensive diagnostic approach saved me from unneeded surgery.

He then referred me to a trusted colleague, Dr. Ast. Once I was under the care of Dr. Ast, he too proved to be an amazing clinician, and provided unmatched care and expertise. My experience with Dr. Ast and his team, from pre- to post-surgery, was amazing. The level of trust one must have in their surgeon can't be understated. There was never a moment of doubt that my total hip replacement outcome would be anything but a total success. I'm now 6 months post-surgery and I recently went skiing for the first time in years! The only regret I have is that I didn't go to HSS first, and wasted 2 years suffering in pain. I would recommend HSS, Dr. Dowdell and Dr. Ast to anyone who is experience back or hip pain. The care I received from HSS was positively top tier.