I have been hovering around your surface hippy website for quite a while now, and since I have now gone through the 1st of my 2 BHR procedures, I thought I would write and maybe help in contributing my $.02 worth. By the way, thanks very much for the work you do in maintaining the website – this is a great service to people like me!I’m a 56 year old (former) marathon runner, and have suffered from progressively worse OA in my right hip for probably 5 years. I knew I eventually needed to do something, but like a lot of people, I just ignored it as best I could and kept on running with the help of Glucosamine, Naproxen and Ibuprofen. After a marathon in Fall of 2005, I realized that was probably my last since I could hardly walk for days afterward. I still thought it wasn’t bad enough for surgery, and kept running 5 and 10ks for a couple more years. My last race was August of 2007, and by then, my left hip was quickly catching up with the severe OA in my right. Finally, I came to terms with the idea that I need to get this fixed, and started looking for a procedure and a doctor in earnest. I had been reading about the BHR implants for quite some time, and had decided that it made sense for me since I was still fairly young, and wanted to remain active. The problem was, when I inititally started searching for a surgeon that uses the Birmingham device, there were none in Utah that I could find. A few months ago, I was searching again, and found two Utah doctors trained in using the BHR procedure. There are many other doctors in Utah that do resurfacing, but I wanted the Birmingham device, and only two were listed on http://www.birminghamhipresurfacing.com/locatesurgeon/. One of them did his surgery at a hospital that does not take the insurance I have, but the other, although 40 miles away from my home, seemed to be a good choice. His name is Dr. Joshua Hickman, and he does his surgery at Lakeview hospital in Bountiful, Utah. Here’s his info: Dr. Joshua Hickman Mountain Orthopaedics, LLC 1551 Renaissance Towne Dr. Bountiful, Ut 84010
March 10th has come and gone, and I now have a shiny new left BHR to go with the right. I am now 5 days post-op, and the weirdest thing is that I got used to walking somewhat normally and driving and all that after the first surgery 5 weeks before, and now I am starting it all over again. Anyway, it went very well – I was at the hospital at 7am Monday, and released at 3pm Tuesday, so it was even a shorter hospital stay. The anethstesia worked a bit different for me this time. I had a block plus a sedative to put me to sleep, but I woke up while he was still pounding the hardware in! This should have bothered me a lot, since I am a total wimp when it comes to this stuff (I have to look away when my blood is drawn, I get light-headed when someone talks about surgery or blood, etc) but since I could feel absolutely nothing other than the slight movement from the hammering or whatever he was doing, it turned out to be just interesting and not uncomfortable at all. I heard the OR staff talking, but I was drifting in and out of sleep, and before long was in the recovery room. I wonder what it would have been like to be awake for the whole surgery? Since you have absolutely no feeling in your body from the waist down, I suppose it’s possible. For some reason, the incision is shorter than the right side, although I don’t know by how much. I can’t believe that 6 weeks ago I was on the other side of this wondering how I was going to survive two hip operations, and now it’s over and I’m sitting at my computer desk with two new hips!If you’re on the fence and nervous about getting that hip fixed – don’t be. Just do your homework, find a good doctor that is experienced (I can make a great recommendation 🙂 ), and go for a visit. My biggest problem with the severe arthritis in my hips for years (besides limping around, not being able to run, and trashing my stomach with anti-inflammatories) has been getting from a sitting position to a standing position. It was a process that sometimes took a few minutes, and was VERY painful, not to mention a little embarrasing. After sitting in a booth at a restaurant, for example, I would go through such a long procedure to get my legs working (including grimacing and groaning) that people would stare. Here it is now 5 days since my second surgery, and already I am standing up faster than I have for probably 5 years (although I am not putting full weight on the new hip yet). It’s a wonderful feeling, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long.
I actually don’t know for sure if he is the most experienced in Utah, but I can’t imagine anybody doing it any better. For the second surgery, I had a different doctor doing the anesthesia, and I was told by the nurse later that they all have different methods, so waking up during the surgery was actually a result of what the anesthesiologist did, rather than Dr. Hickman. Again, it was not the least bit uncomfortable, scary or anything like that, and I really am a wimp, so if it didn’t bother me, it probably won’t bother anybody. Even though I was conscious, I was still very sedated and relaxed. Thinking back on it now, they must have noticed my eyes opened, and put me out again, because I don’t recall much other than those few minutes after the initial wake-up until I woke up again in recovery. One important thing to mention here is they asked me which type of anesthesia I would prefer, and I could have opted for a deep general anesthesia that pretty much guarantees you are out for the duration. I have to say that if I had to have this done 10 times, I would chose the block and sedation all 10 times vs. the general (it’s a good thing I only have 2 hips!!).Dr. Hickman has probably done over 150 resurfacings by now, but he doesn’t do just those. He also does THR’s and other orthopedic surgery, like the knees. He does his surgery every Monday all day. I remarked to the pre-op nurse this last time that Monday must be a really long day for him, and she says he absolutely loves it. She said he’s like a kid in a candy store, and can’t wait for Mondays. You will be able to get your own opinion of him during your visit, but I think you will find him very enthusiastic and like I said before, totally sold on the merits of resurfacing. When I go back for my 3 week post-op visit, I’m going to ask him where he trained for the BHR procedure, but if you happen to think to ask him during your visit, can you send an email to Pat so she can update the Dr. listing? I have only spoken with one of his other BHR patients during all this, and he was an older man who was back for his 3-week post-op visit, and he was off crutches, doing very well, and was just as happy with Dr. Hickman as I have become. This last surgery, there was another Hickman BHR patient in the room next to mine, and I planned on going in during one of my walks with the physical therapist, but by the time we got over there, he had been released. One thing you might want to do is see if they can give you names of a few patients of his you can talk to. Two people you will get to know there if you decide to have him do your surgery is Kristen, who is his secretary, and Brooke, who is his medical assistant (I think she is an RN). I have called them both many times, and they usually don’t answer because they are busy, but they are both excellent to return calls. One of the many things I was impresssed with was the care he took in placing the cobalt chrome cap over the femur bone. Apparently the angle at which this is inserted is very important, and has ramifications down the road as to how resistant your hip is to future fracturing. Fracturing is quite rare, but it can happen, and is aggravated by positioning the resurfacing hardware incorrectly where there is more stress on the femur neck than is necessary. In my case he looked at the xrays after the first surgery, and carefully showed me how mine was at the perfect angle to withstand the maximum stress (my femur neck is apparently at a bit wider angle than most men). I’m sure all the good resurfacing doctors do this, but I was just very reassured at how detail oriented he is. The other doctor I looked into locally was Dr. Kim Bertin, and he came highly recommended to me by a friend of mine who is a hospital administrator, and knows him well. My problem there is he only does his surgery at LDS hospital, and my insurance is not accepted there. The hard part about all this is here you have an extremely skilled and dedicated person who basically gives you your life back, which is priceless, but all you have to give in return is your money . I know it’s a LOT of money, but it somehow doesn’t seem like quite enough compensation because it’s so great to be able to do all those things you used to do, and can do them pain-free again. Whoever you chose to do your surgery, I wish you the best of luck! I don’t think this surgery is recovered from as easily as some of the minimally-invasive total hip procedures from what I understand, but it’s a great solution for younger more active people, and recovery is not that bad. It’s been one week today since my second surgery, and I am still on two crutches, but I am very mobile, getting in and out of bed myself, and I will probably toss one crutch this coming week. As far as pain, the first couple of days I was glad to have a pain-pill, but now an occasional Tylanol is all I need. It’s also been 6 weeks today since the first surgery, and that side is very strong now, which is good, since it has done most of the weight bearing. If you haven’t already started, make sure you do some exercising to tone those leg muscles. That makes recovery a little easier. Also, you may not have been told this yet, but within 48 hours after surgery, they send you to a clinic to get a radiation treatment on the operated hip. They do this because the body is so aggressive in trying to heal that hip that there is a possibility of getting bone spurs or calcium growth in the tissue surrounding the joint. The radiation slows this process way down so the danger is minimized. It’s not painful, and the actual radiation takes only a couple of minutes, but you’re there for quite a while as they do x-rays, and map out exactly how and where to treat the joint. The hard part is you are getting up and down on tables, so you’ll need meds. Good luck, and keep us posted. Alan