Tony Testa’s life has always been about giving it his all for the fans. As the original guitarist for the Duprees and now their leader and front man, his charismatic personality and give-and-take with the audience make every show dynamic and unforgettable. The band shot to fame in the early 1960s with hits like “You Belong to Me,” “Have You Heard,” and “(It’s No) Sin.” Extensive touring and physical wear and tear on Testa over the years made for a hip condition that took him off his feet earlier this year.
A born performer, Testa knew he couldn’t take chances with anything other than the best care and technology when it came to receiving an artificial hip – a critical joint for someone as active on stage as him. He researched hip replacement procedures beforehand, and decided on seeking out a facility that used the Hana® Orthopedic Table in its OR. The Hana Table has transformed how hip replacement surgeries are carried out: patient positioning via the table means the surgery can be minimally invasive, less painful, and with a much faster recovery time. It all adds up to a vastly improved experience compared to hip replacements of even the recent past.
A friend who had recently had surgery of his own recommended Testa look into Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth. For Testa, who lives in Jackson Township, Trinitas would be a bit of a distance – but he learned the Hana table was in use there, and was also swayed after speaking a member of the hospital’s executive team.
“I’ve known Nadine Brechner [Chief Development Officer and Vice President of the Trinitas Health Foundation] for some time now, and she told me about the facilities and staff there who could perform my hip replacement,” Testa says. “I made the decision that Trinitas, even though it was a little far, would be the best place to have this surgery.”
Then, however, came COVID-19. The pandemic put a sizable spin on the situation, causing many to rethink their decision to have elective surgeries. Testa, though, says he never seriously considered postponing his operation.
“I was reasonably sure it would be safe,” he says. “Hospitals are always ensuring of a healthy and clean environment, and given the crisis I was especially confident every precaution would be taken.”
For Testa, whose touring schedule is on hiatus, he knew this time would allow for plenty of recovery and recuperation. Live concerts and special events like Holland America’s Malt Shop Cruise – set to feature the Duprees along with other hallmark acts of the Doo-Wop age – will resume later in 2021.
The effort to get him back into the spotlight included orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Ghobrial, anesthesiologist (and Chair of Trinitas’ Department of Anesthesiology) Leon Pirak, and the nursing team – all of whom Testa describes as “nothing short of incredible.”
As New Jersey flattened its curve and hospitalizations began slowing being late May and early June, Testa’s procedure could be carried out as planned. In fact, with extra safety measures and disinfection procedures in place, hospitals soon became some of the safest places to be in terms of potential COVID-19 exposure. Trinitas, of course, was no exception.
“The whole staff was extremely attentive to health and safety protocols,” he says. “They made sure everyone had masks, were always taking people’s temperatures and wiping everything down. As a patient, I never felt unsafe or like corners were being cut.”
“I would recommend Trinitas to everyone,” he says. “I had the surgery on a Tuesday, and was out of the hospital by Thursday morning. I was walking again almost immediately. I may even be back on stage by September!”
For fans of the Duprees, it won’t be a moment too soon.