Ex-professional ballet dancer Elaine Williams (53) regards her new Polymotion® Hip Resurfacing implanted by Mr McMinn as the “best decision of my life!” From the age of eleven, Elaine trained at the Royal Ballet School and went professional, retiring 28 years ago. Since then, she has found a passion for teaching ballet as well as pilates and yoga, whilst also appearing in films and on television. Having an active lifestyle and being constantly on her feet, Elaine began to notice pain in her right hip.
“I first noticed it getting in and out of the car and then about a year ago the pain increased quite a lot. I noticed it in my own fitness classes where I had restricted mobility in movement.” This pain progressed and she felt the main factor in opting to have surgery was the “sheer level of pain”. It was having an impact on Elaine’s day to day life, where general household tasks like loading the washing machine became unbearable due to the pain in her hip. “I was changing my whole way of living to do everything standing on one leg and not using the other hip joint.”
Elaine wanted to come to “the best person possible” for surgery and had a preference for the more bone-conserving Hip Resurfacing over a Hip Replacement as she is “still young, fit, active, energetic and wanted to still live life.” However, tests showed that Elaine had a metal allergy. “When I discovered I was allergic it was a very big shock because at the time it meant that I couldn’t have a Resurfacing. It was discussed with me and I knew that there were future plans for a new device so I was prepared to wait.”
The new device, developed by Mr McMinn, is the Polymotion® Hip Resurfacing which utilises existing Cobalt Chromium femoral implants but instead of a metal acetabular cup, Mr McMinn uses a highly cross-linked polyethylene acetabular cup with a porous coating. This metal-on-polyethylene device was an ideal solution to Elaine’s situation and she became the first patient to have the device implanted by Mr McMinn. “I am very pleased I waited for the new Resurfacing option.”
After surgery, Elaine was initially on paracetamol for ten days until the pain level “halved”. There is a physio routine that every patient undertakes during the first few days following surgery that involves walking the corridors and climbing the stairs. “The physios are brilliant, they give you confidence. I got to the top of the stairs and felt like I’d climbed a mountain. I was amazed that I actually managed to do what five minutes earlier seemed almost impossible.” Every time Elaine stood on her affected hip prior to the operation, the pain was “excruciating” but standing on her new hip gave “no pain whatsoever.”
Elaine is now two months postoperative and her hip “feels great.” At the three week mark she was able to walk a mile and almost doubled that distance a few days later. “The walking is the key, definitely. That helped the movement and helped the hip move forward and back.” At seven weeks she started swimming and after the first few breast stroke kicks felt a “bit stiff”, but by kick five she was on her way and could do “length after length.” She was also back driving at seven weeks with no problems.
Like most people, Elaine was “shocked” at the removal of the small sizes of the BHR by Smith & Nephew in June. “I am small boned and surgery has given me a new lease of life and I don’t know what I’d have done without it. There would have been no life without it – I’d have struggled on in tremendous pain. I have friends who are a similar build to me and they are very concerned that they are not going to be able to have this particular operation.”
Elaine’s advice for anyone who is suffering with hip pain and considering hip surgery is to “go and do it and put all the fear behind you.” She researched a lot but was still “very scared as it a major operation” but has “never looked back.” It has given her a “new lease of life and the pain has immediately gone from the minute you wake up. No more sleepless nights. It is the best decision I’ve ever made.”