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Musician Making Sweet Music Again after Double Hip Replacement

David "Red" Lehr knew he could not keep living in pain. Not only were his hip problems affecting his work as a butcher in New Athens, IL, they were also hindering his ability to play his beloved tuba, a passion and hobby that had taken him all over the world.

For 52 years, Red Lehr has worked at the butcher shop that his father started in 1923. This work requires a lot of standing, something that was never a problem for the active Lehr. But two years ago, all that changed when he was knocked over by a steer. Falling onto a block of ice jolted his hip causing a chain reaction, which led to severe arthritis in both hips.

It wasn't long before the pain severely altered his lifestyle. "The pain hindered my ability to work like I used to. It was uncomfortable and difficult to stand long periods of time. It also affected my playing. I like to stand up while playing my tuba and it got to be difficult to do that. Traveling was the hardest because I could hardly walk through the airports anymore," recalls Lehr.

For the man who has been playing in traveling bands, restaurants, even the old Busch stadium, for much of his life, this was a harsh reality. He knew that something needed to be done.

"I wasn't ready to give my life up," he said. "That wasn't an option for me."

That's when an old friend mentioned Dr. Joseph Williams of the Bone and Joint Institute. Lehr looked Dr. Williams up and made an appointment. After extensive x-rays, Dr. Williams recommended a double hip replacement.

"I listened to all that Dr. Williams said and I could tell he was an honest man. I knew he was telling me the truth and I just put all my trust in him. He said he could fix my problem, and I believed him."

In May of 2006, Red Lehr underwent his first total hip replacement. Dr. Williams removed the arthritic ball of the upper femur, as well as the cartilage from the hip socket and replaced it with a metal ball that he fixed to a stem inserted into the femur. The result, for Red Lehr, was astounding.

"Within days I was up and walking and within two weeks I no longer needed a cane. I had a therapist come and work with me every day to regain mobility and movement, but I had relatively little pain," he says.

Roughly six weeks later, he had his other hip replaced. And a month after his second surgery, he went on his first postoperative trip with his polka band. "I was amazed at how quickly I felt better. The recovery was wonderful," Lehr said.

Dr. Joseph Williams is a well-known and respected surgeon in the field of Orthopedics. He is among a select number of doctors trained in the United States to perform some of the most cutting edge in minimally invasive joint replacement surgeries. More than that, Dr. Williams is most loved by his patients for his genuine care and attention to detail.

Dr. Williams is a graduate of Saint Louis University School of Medicine and he completed his internship and his general surgery residency at the Saint Louis University Group of Hospitals. He served his residency in orthopedic surgery at the Phoenix Combined Orthopedic Program in Phoenix, Arizona.

A fellow with the American Academy of Orthopedics, Dr. Williams is certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery. He is a member of numerous prestigious medical organizations, among them the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, Arthroscopy Association of North America, International Arthroscopy Association, and the Missouri State Orthopedic Society. He is also a past board member of the Arthritis Foundation, Eastern Missouri Chapter.

What makes Dr. Williams so successful is his vast experience and knowledge in the area of minimally invasive replacements of the knee, hip, shoulder and spine. Combine that with his systematic method of patient education, physical conditioning and nutritional support for minimally invasive joint replacement patients. This program focuses on educating patients to set realistic expectations for surgery before, during and after the procedure. A nutritional plan and a physical conditioning plan to achieve optimal health before surgery may also be incorporated. Postoperative therapy includes additional patient education and comprehensive, appropriate exercise.

It seems that anyone you speak with who knows Dr. Williams is quick to attest to his professionalism, his skill and his grace. Red Lehr is one of his biggest fans. "I would tell anyone who is considering a joint replacement to go visit Dr. Williams and Des Peres hospital. If they want it done right, that's what they need to do."

Only an orthopedic surgeon can determine if surgery is right for an individual and the experience of each patient may vary. Surgery involves potential risks and requires recovery time. The life of any joint replacement depends on patient weight, age, activity level and other factors. Information pertaining to the Bone and Joint Institute is available by telephoning 314-966-6480 and at