My name is Geoff Robertson and I live in Rossland B.C. Canada. I’m 45 years young, very fit and active and a person who’d suffered with osteoarthritis in both hips for about 3-4 years, before finally making the decision to have surgery to repair the problem. I was scared to death of having such a major surgery, but I slowly came to the realization that I just couldn’t continue to live with the constant pain and increasing loss of mobility any longer. After dropping activity after activity and having very little left to give up in my life, I decided that something had to be done.
The first surgeon that my physician referred me to, only did the T.H.R. procedure and he told me point blank, that in his opinion, I was way too young to have this type of prosthetic, as it would place too many restrictions on my lifestyle. And taking into consideration my natural life expectancy, he said that I’d just wear these prosthetics out and that I’d require possibly, several revisions over the remaining years of my life. He basically told me to just suffer for the next 10 or more years, until I reached a more appropriate age, at which time, he’d give me the T.H.R.
To me, this was not a viable option and I felt extremely frustrated with this prognosis. I knew that I couldn’t possibly be the only person in my age group to have osteoarthritis of the hips and so, I began to do some research to find out if any other options existed for a person in my situation. It was then that I discovered hip resurfacing and my discouragement turned into optimism as I read about the thousands of people who’ve undergone this procedure and have gone on to regain their once active lives. So, armed with this new information, I went back to my family Physician and told him that I wanted to explore the possibility of having this procedure done. He told me of a fellow about my age who’d undergone hip resurfacing a few years ago and suggested that I go and talk to him about it. I did so, and not only did this fellow fully endorse the procedure as miraculous and life-changing, but he gave me the name of his surgeon and highly recommended that I get a referral to see him about it. That visit turned out to be one of the best things that I’ve ever done and within about 7 weeks, I was sitting in the office of Dr. Nelson Greidanus in Vancouver B.C. where he told me that, due to my good bone density and relatively straightforward case of osteoarthritis, I was an excellent candidate for hip resurfacing. He also told me that due to my excellent overall health and relative youth, that I had the option of having them done one at a time or, both in one surgery. After a brief discussion of the pro’s and con’s of both options, I decided to get it all out of the way in one fell swoop and 5 months later, on September 21/07, I underwent bi-lateral hip resurfacing by Dr. Greidanus at Vancouver General Hospital. I chose to receive the Zimmer Durom hip resurfacing prosthetics and at 3 weeks post-op, I couldn’t be happier with my results. My total hospital stay was 5 days, during which time, the P.T.’s had me standing on the first day and walking with a walker on the second day. Each day my progression continued to the point where, on the 5th day, I was able to walk through the hallways for over an hour at a time using crutches. On the 6th day, my wife and I embarked on the 10 hour car ride back home where my P.T. has continued through a local, private clinic with amazing results. I had my staples removed at the 2 week point and I still have some tenderness around my incisions (which are approximately 10 inches long and located on the sides of my buttocks, extending a short distance down the sides of my thighs) and some minor pain and stiffness in the muscles of my upper legs and buttocks. However, I’ve now returned to sleeping on my sides again and everyday the pain gets a little bit easier to live with. I was completely off the pain medication within a couple of days after returning home and I’ve found that I haven’t needed anything in terms of pain relief since then. I’m now using canes to get around, which I’m finding to be much easier and smoother than crutches and my surgeon has told me that all restrictions will be removed at the 6 week post-op mark, which is October 4th. At that time, he has instructed me to begin to really push hard to regain my full range of motion in my hip joints and that I can probably return to work shortly thereafter. I’m so pleased with the way things have worked out thus far and I’m increasingly confident that I’ll soon be returning to all of the activities that I used to enjoy. Things like skiing and mountaineering and ice hockey to name a few. It’s wonderful! I’m so happy and I’d like to encourage anyone who’s considering hip resurfacing to just get it done. I’d also like to say that if I can be of any further help to anyone, please feel free to ask me. I’ll check back to this site regularly and continue to post notes on my progress. Thank you so much for providing this forum. I hope that many others find it to be as helpful as I have. Sincerely, Geoff
8 Weeks Post Op
It’s been nearly 8 weeks post surgery now and I’m doing quite well. I ditched the canes about 3 weeks ago and started venturing outside for little walks around the neibourhood in the beautiful autumn weather that we’ve been having here in the Kootenays. It’s difficult to describe how wonderful those first few walks felt and I knew at that time that I’d made the right decision about whether or not to have hip resurfacing. The old aches and pains of the arthritis are gone and I just feel so liberated. I can now walk for at least an hour at a time before feeling like it’s time to go home for a rest. I’ve also noticed that I hardly ever feel the need to use Advil anymore to help relieve the pain and stiffness that I experience if I push things a little too hard. A little rest laying down is usually all that I need these days. I saw my surgeon, Dr. Greidanus in his Vancouver office on November 3/07 (6 weeks post surgery) and he told me that everything looks great. The surgery was a “text-book success” as he put it, and at that time, he told me that all restrictions are now lifted. He told me to really work hard at getting my flexibility and range of motion back and to resume my previous lifestyle and activities as I feel able. He went on to say that he’s seen a number of cases similar to mine where the people have not worked hard at regaining their mobility and a year or two down the road, they’re still having difficulties with pain and stiffness. He put a lot of emphasis on the fact that, from this point forward, my recovery is up to me – I have to put in the effort to re-train the muscles and other supportive structures in my hips and legs in order to get past the residual pain and stiffness that I’m experiencing. To this end, I’m working hard in the pool and in the gym, following the routines that my physiotherapist has prescribed for me and I’m making good progress. (she’s actually, completely blown away by how well I’m doing and that, for me, is very encouraging) I sometimes struggle with the feeling that my rate of recovery has plateaued somewhat over the past couple of weeks and I still get stiff and sore if I push too hard, but without a doubt, I’m on the road to wellness. It’s all attitude at this point and I’m generally feeling positive about my ability to get past this. I keep telling myself that it’s a process and like being in a forest, the only way past it, is through it. I have a bad day now and then but mostly, I can feel myself getting stronger and more able all the time.
I’m planning to return to work in the near future – probably in a month or so, and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m finding it to be a little boring at times when I’m at home and even though I have weekly indemnity plan through my employers insurance policy that pays me while I recover, I still want to get back there and be productive again as soon as I can. It’s all part of getting my life back to where it was before the arthritis came along and I’m excited about that prospect. It’s something that now seems possible and that’s one of the the sweetest feelings that I’ve ever known. Best wishes to everyone and thanks for the kind words of encouragement. It’s very much appreciated. Sincerely, Geoff Robertson