May 5, 2008 I’m 38 and I have just had both hips resurfaced (I am 6 days post the second op, the first was done 13 days ago). I am worried that the flexion contractures I had pre-operatively will stay, as when I try to lie flat on my back, it quickly becomes very painful in the groin. Should I be panicking, or is this something that will gradually improve with physiotherapy and stretches? I absolutely am unable to sleep at the moment without something elevating my knees.
May 6, 2008 I guess I should do stretches as I feel capable, and for sleeping, at this point the main thing is to be comfortable enough to do so. My husband rushed out and bought a thick woolen mattress topper yesterday, and last night was easier than the night before so that’s something (cash flow is an issue at the moment but later on we’ll be able to buy a new mattress of the right sort)… Today I’ve decided to do 10 minute periods of lying flat at intervals, and I am doing some extension exercises as part of my physio anyway. Also when I see the physios next Tuesday I hope they will come up with some other suggestions (the surgeon has already suggested half hour periods of lying on my front, but I will only start that once I am confident I can move myself about that much as my husband has had to go back to work now!).
I suppose I worry about retaining the flexion contractures because a) I want everything to be perfect! and b) in my teens I first developed lower back problems and I now realise that was when the contractures were forming, and they caused my posture to change, hence causing muscle spasm in the lower back. I’d like to get back “normal” posture, but as Pat said, it’s not going to happen overnight if I’ve been compensating for rotten hips for most of my life!
At least every new day I can see and feel a palpable difference in my mobility. It was really challenging having both hips done 1 week apart but my surgeon says that if it can be done that way, the rehab gets the most out of both new hips. He says that if you get one done and you still have a bad other hip, you can’t get the most out of the new one due to the restrictions of the other one that hasn’t been resurfaced yet. But it was still VERY scary going in the second time (I found out afterwards from his PA that a lot of people run (well, limp) for the hills and postpone the 2nd surgery!). It also sounds like from reading this site that my hips were a lot worse than a lot of US surgeons would tackle – I had bone cysts galore – but on the really bad side, Roger grafted some bone from the acetabulum to help with fixation of the head component.
By the way, I was surprised to see that my surgeon, Dr Roger Oakeshott (Sportsmed SA, South Australia) isn’t on your list here – he practically pioneered the resurfacing procedure here in Australia and has a fantastic reputation. He also was part of the team that developed the computer software that apparently can get the implant alignment within half a degree of the original. I am certain he has done more than a few hundred resurfacings, and he has an excellent reputation here in Australia. So I think it would be worth checking him out!
May 7, 2008 Actually I *think* I am making the right amount of progress for where I’m at, although some of the stories on here are really impressive; I couldn’t contemplate returning to work 2 weeks post-op like someone on here has done but that’s not a worry as I should have income protection insurance money soon (it’s pending) and the surgeon has signed me off until July. Having said that I was given the impression by a friend who’d had the procedure that I would practically be Superman straight away so that’s maybe a let-down that I haven’t had the instant relief that she got…
I guess it’s a lot of things – there was of course several years of chronic pain leading up to this, also the ever-increasing disability (unable to work for 1 month prior to the surgery), the complications (developed gastric bleeding from the anti-inflammatories, had an endoscopy in March). And then there is the fact that although the hip problem is a combination of un-diagnosed congenital subluxation and femoro-acetabular impingement, there is also a component of inflammatory arthritis (psoriatic) and that affects different sets of joints every year. In March my shoulders started to flare up, but luckily with my enforced inactivity they settled enough that I’ve been able to use my upper body during the post-op period with no issues. But the inflammatory arthritis sort of means that I can’t just say it’s all over now my hips are fixed (and I suppose I should be aware that I get inflammatory reactions after any kind of trauma so that must be affecting my pain levels too)…
A friend has pointed out that a general anaesthetic in March and then 2 in April, 1 week apart, are enough to send anyone “off” – especially as my first surgery took about 4 hours and the second 2-3 hours I think – he had to do bone grafting and I think also he’s very meticulous with his computer aided laser positioning of the implants so I guess none of that helps either!
And, we are looking at buying a lovely 105 year old country cottage and selling this house, all in the next 2 months and I am finding that very overwhelming even though the idea is to start living the kind of life we want. I suppose I am also finding it hard to re-define myself after all this as someone who may well continue to have limitations. And, as I am a doctor myself I also feel as if I should just be able to “get on with it” even though I know I wouldn’t say that to one of my patients!
I suppose the problem is that now that the surgery is done I feel as I am expected to feel really positive, and I know it’s all good and I am improving every day but a lot of the time I just don’t feel that way! And I know I will gradually feel better, etc etc! I do recall being a lot like this after I had a neurosurgical procedure on the spine in my neck so I suppose it might be a normal response for me…
I think also I have not been used to thinking of myself with a lot of issues but the past few months has really brought them to the fore, even though I keep thinking “that’s not me” but at the moment, it is!