Dubai resident rows across Atlantic after hip replacement

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on December 28, 2019 | Last updated on December 28, 2019 at 07.03 am
Dubai resident rows across Atlantic after hip replacement


In a custom made Dh1.8 million boat named 'Year of Zayed' and sponsored by DP World.

From not being able to get his socks on to rowing across Atlantic with a total hip replaced, Dubai resident Patrick Boll, captain of Dubai's transatlantic rowing team, talks about how he managed to row across the ocean with his newly replaced hip joint. With hip surgeries on the rise in the UAE, the aim of such surgeries has shifted from just pain reduction to a whole new focus on function and lifestyle, doctors say.

Dr Matthias Honl, consultant orthopaedic surgeon, specialist in joint replacement and sports medicine at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery (BHAS), said patients have been approaching him with the request for hip replacements because they want to run Iron Man and other endurance marathons. Boll had a similar concern when he asked Dr Matthias: "Can I row over the Atlantic Ocean with my new hip joint?"

Outdoor sportsperson Patrick is the leader of an initiative aiming to focus attention on plastic pollution of the oceans. With their custom made Dh1.8 million boat named 'Year of Zayed' and sponsored by DP World, the team rowed across 4,250-km Atlantic ocean in 32 days.

"I was feeling my hip joint, like upper leg part a big stiff, and learned from Dr Matthias that I had a little bit of a deformity from birth and due to the strenuous marathons I had undertaken, my cartilage had worn away. So I took six weeks to prepare my core muscles before undergoing the surgery that took only 45 minutes when it eventually happened," 48-year-old Boll told Khaleej Times.

Move to make speedy recovery

After the surgery, Boll was asked to walk every day for a speedy recovery. Just after two weeks Bol was walking 5km a day and in a month's time, he was dune bashing on a multi cruise bike with a lot of suspensions. And in a couple of years' time, he was gearing for the most challenging event of his life the Transatlantic rowing trip.

"Me, along with three others, trained our bodies for 14 months for 15 hours a week. Hands, hip and all muscles needed to toughen to the rigors of the expedition. The new hip, however, never gave me any issue and to consider, we each did nearly 400,000 strokes on the oars during the expedition alone.

"The journey was everything adventurous - amazing nature, shoals of thousands of dolphins, whales, albatrosses, manta rays of four-metre somersaulting and rowing under the stars. We faced several technical and psychological problems like broken rudders and a breakdown of our watermakers, but never even for a moment did my hip joint gave me any pain or trouble," said Boll.

Dr Honl, who conducted the surgery said: "We perform our hip replacements in a minimal invasion. This prevents pain and loss of function around the surgery and facilitates rehabilitation. An electric traction device is used for leg exposure during surgery and implant cementers artificial joints often made from titanium. The joint itself has a bearing of third-generation ceramic components, which is resistant against wear and guarantees longevity of the artificial hip joint. The surgery offers an extremely high success rate and provides the best possible outcome."

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