Published: 13 June 2013
Last Updated: 13 June 2013
Created: 13 June 2013
Lauann's Hip Resurfacing with Dr. Sparling 2010
June 28, 2010
I was very distraught when, after having my hip resurfacing (45 yr
female, right hip, C+, Dr Sparling WA) 3 weeks ago, I found that my resurfaced
leg was about 3/4 of an inch longer! The Dr said I will learn to compensate and
I must practice straightening my operated leg out when walking. I am still on
crutches so this is not so hard. However, once I can walk without them (still 3
weeks away) I feel I will limp badly and feel very off balance with the
discrepancy. You have all taught me a lot and given me hope and the means to try
and correct it.
June 30, 2010
I have seen the Dr. only since surgery, at day 7 post op. I had noticed
the length difference (longer on the resurf leg) since about day 3 post op. The
PT's at the hospital just kept telling me that I needed to stretch it, and it
would eventually get better. I was released from the hospital on day 4 with no
PT help once at home, just a list of exercises I needed to do on my own.
Once home, I was frustrated with the fact that if I stood straight up (with the
help of my crutches) I could not completely straighten my operated leg without
standing on my toes on the other. I finally put a small insert/lift into my
non-op leg so I could pratice my walking exercises without the "standing on my
The very next day I had that 7th day post op appt with the surgeon, Dr Sparling
of WA. He has done abut 400 + resurf's and is reported to be one of the best in
the OR/WA area. He, however, is not the most "chatty" Dr. out there, and I often
have touble getting him to comment much on my conerns (at least to my
satisfaction). I mentioned my leg length discovery, and he more or less souned
like it was not going to be a problem, and that perhaps I was imagining it (due
to some of the reasons you have all already mentioned). He absolutely did not
want me to have the lift in my shoe, and made me take it out. He said I should
practice standing up straight and "tilt" my pelvis to the right (right is my
"longer" resurfaced side) and teach my body to compenste. I then showed him
again how much I had to stand on my toes to straighten my operated leg and he
then said "well, maybe it is longer, we will just have to wait and see and then
decide later if you need a lift".
He never looked at the radiographs to check leg length. He didn't measure
anything! Now, I do realize that I still have a lot of healing and PT to do
(today I'm at exactly 4 weeks) but I try to do what the Dr said with tipping and
straightening my pelvis to the right and it is so far near impossible. I have 2
more weeks on cruthes. I feel the real test will be when I get to walk without
them. If I still have problems after I've had a week or two off of them, I am
going to request from the Dr. more professionally delivered PT. I think if he
Rx'd it then it will be paid for by my insurance.
By the way, I had what I believe to be, a unique hip situation. Rather than the
oseoarthritis "bone on bone" cariliage damage that many people have when having
a hip prothesis, my cartilage was almost completely intact. My pain and
imobility were due to profuse oseophytes or "bone spurs" that surrouned my joint
and caught the liguments and tendons as the moved around it. It caused me
moderate chronic pain, limp (leaning forward with my foot and leg turned
outward) etc. Perhaps this had something to due with the outcome. Maybe there
wasn't as much to "resurface away"?? Hard to ask the Dr., he gets impatient with
Anyway, to sum it up, after reading this discussion group, sounds like most
hippes learn to walk in spite of it all. My Dr. sure didn't seem too worried.
July 15, 2010
I am now officially 6 weeks post surgery, and just had my second
post-op Dr's appt. Because I am a small framed ( and therefore have small and
not-so-dense bone) female 45 yrs, my Dr. considers me higher risk for HR
failure, so I feel, after reading many posts on this discussion group, that he
is taking a very conservative approach with my recovery activity level. I am so
far very excited because I feel great overall and have very little discomfort. I
can already (with permission) bend my leg (as long as I do not put my knee
towards my stomach) more than 90 degrees, put on my sock, dress without aid,
etc. On the "bummer" side, these 1st 6 weeks I only had permission to put 50%
max weight on my leg and walk with a walker (only used the first 3 days) then
crutches. I just got released at the last appt. to use a cane, and to put just
as much weight on my leg as tolerated for the next 6 weeks. I still cannot lift
anything over 20 lbs. So needless to say, my cutter and reiner, for the past 6
weeks, have been cared for by my husband and probably think they died and went
to horse heaven!! My Dr. does still assure me, however, that if everything goes
as planned, I should be riding in approx. 3 months post-op... which will put me
into early Sept.
As you certainly know by being a fellow equestrain, injuries often go with the
activity. I have had to "rehab" several times in my life with various broken
bones, etc. I expect that the first few weeks in the saddle will just be easy
stuff. I have no idea, really, but in my head, I plan to try to start cutting by
early winter. I guess I will just have to wait and see if my plan is quite
brilliant or simply wishful thinking
I am comforted by the fact, that even though my Dr. most likely has no idea
what cutting on horseback involves, after describing it to him (and I tried to
make it sound even more intense than it really was) he said I should be able to
it fine. As far as the reiner goes, he is a huge and smooth stopper, so I hope
that won't bother me much. The spin... I'll just have to wait and see. I do know
a gal that has had bilat THR and she shows a reiner just fine, so I think the
cutter may be the challenge. I promise I will keep all the equestrains posted on
my progress. Please, anyone who rides, let us all know your trials and triumphs.
I hang on your every word (thanks again, Nancy). Feel free to email me at home,
also. Hope your surgery goes well. Try not to stress too much. I remember being
so scared and nervous and it was actually very easy considering all.
August 10, 2010
I am at 10 weeks now and this is really my only "hurdle", at least at this
point in my healing. I can walk, without a limp or pain, for pretty long
distances, do small chores, sit very comfortably, but those first few steps
getting up... UGLY!! My leg is painful, really weak, and feels like it would
just about collapse if I put all my weight on it. I, too, take about 10 or so
very limpy steps before it warms up. The last 3 days I have noticed it being a
little better; more like 5 steps.
September 17, 2010
I used to be a jockey, and I'm understanding that you are exercise
riding somewhere... I'm guessing Canada (you did say your horses were on
"holiday". I spent 3 different seasons riding races at Assinibioa Downs in
Winnipeg. I now live in my home state of Oregon.
I have been riding again now for three weeks. I have very little discomfort.
I have literally been in the saddle almost all day with no problems. Sometimes I
take my foot out of the stirrup and straighten my leg, and I feel the muscles
getting tired and stretched out again. But with all you are going through, I
feel almost guilty to say (at least, so far) I feel that I am almost riding at
1OO% of my ability. I say almost, because I have still not tried to cut. I do
plan to try again (just on a flag, not real cattle yet) at the end of the month.
I am just thrilled that, these last few days, I have been able to participate
in a clinic that I sponsor every year (Pat Wyse) and I am riding well. I have
been able to do sliding stops, rollbacks, spins, lead changes, etc. and all at
speed. No problem with the HR. In fact, I feel like a new person. I do hear of
people with HR doing well at first, and then having problems. I will just keep
hoping for the best and be positive. Even if I have to go through a revision
sooner than I want to, I will always be glad I tried the HR first. I would
always haved wondered had I not.
October 5, 2010
I have been working a cutting flag with my cutting horse for about 1 &
1/2 weeks now with no ill effects. This is when a trained horse (cutting is a
sport in which a horse moves a cow out of herd and then plays "keep away")
follows a mechanical device that mimics the movements a cow would make in a real
cutting class/show. It involves pretty extreme back and forth jarring motions.
For now, since I can remotely control the flag's speed, I am keeping it moderate
to slow. I'm very excited, though, and hoping that, after speeding it up, and
not having it hurt my hip, I can start cutting again on cattle. I'm planning to
try in Nov. (which will then be about 5 and 1/2 months post op).
May 13, 2011
I am just a little over 2 weeks shy of my one year anniversary, and I
am happy to say, I feel just awesome about 95% of the time.
I had a Conserve + right hip done, due to osteo arth. and bone spurs, by Dr.
Edward Sparling In Vacouver, WA on June 2, 2010. I am a 5'3" female 117lbs, 46
years old at time of resurfacing. My first two months after sx were typical with
no complications. In my third month I experienced great improvement, and was
walking without a limp and riding/training my horses again (with my Dr's
approval), occasionally still took NSAIDS, but at MUCH lower levels than before
sx, and no narcotics.
Then around last November/Dec., I started getting really sore again. Not
quite as bad as pre-op, but my hip recovery seemed to be going downhill. I was
terrified, of course, and imagined the worse! I managed it with NSAIDs and grit.
At my 6 month check up, I told the Dr how it pained me, and with ROM tests,
radiographs and the like, they said the implant looked fine, and to keep taking
the Ibuprofen to manage it. They offered no explanation other than it must just
be a little inflammation and not to panic. I could still do all my riding and
horse chores, just with discomfort (although the riding was the most
So, I tried to keep my sanity, work through it, and, thank goodness, they
must have been right. Come about February, my hip greatly improved again!! In
case everyone is wondering, there was not an incident of any kind I can think of
that could have made it worse in those months (other that the cold, damp weather
in Oregon!) I did not do anything that I was told I shouldn't, fall, or
push/injure it in any way. Anyway, the point being is, I shared this because I
want hippies to know it can happen. Do not panic if it does. Get a check from
your Dr and if everything is OK, wait it out. My guess is it was just part of
the healing process. Keep your head up!
I am very happy to report that from Feb to this day, I have been fantastic.
Not to say that it is completely trouble free. I do have some days that are
better than others, but even those days are still FAR better than my best day
with my old hip! My range of motion is near perfect. I can ride my horses all
day, and do chores( ie: clean stalls, move hay, empty heavy buckets, fork manure
out of large wagon, etc), and walk back to the house with no limp! I must add,
too, I do not just "moisey down a trail" with my horses. I show cutters and
reiners, which to you non-horsey people, means running all out, stopping hard,
turning on a dime, spinning like a top, etc. Appart from maybe jumping, this is
some of the most rowdy riding a person can do. I am currently in first place in
my cutting class(a type of showing involving chasing/working cattle) ! Horray
for hip resurfacing!!!
I work about 30+ hours a week as a dental hygienist with no discomfort (for
some elderly patients, I have to clean their teeth standing up for an hour, and
this doesn't bother my hip, either!). I drive a manual tranmission car with no
problems. I have hiked 8 miles in 2 1/2 hours with only a little knee pain the
day after (a little ibuprofen and it was gone the next day). I now take nsaids
only occasionally as needed (prehaps 5-6 times a month?). I am hoping that from
here it only keeps getting better!
If I had to whine about the little discomfort I do have left, I would have to
say this. When I lift something really heavy (approx 60-80 lbs) I feel a little
soreness in my hip still. This has been true since the sx, but I have noticed
getting MUCH better the last six months (and yes, we horse people lift this kind
of weight a lot!). Also, when I bend way down, from my waist, like to straighten
a shoe or sock, it hurts a little when I straighten up again, I may even limp a
step or two after, but it gets better immediately. This has also happened since
day one and has improved greatly. I still have knee pain now and then (same side
as HR) not sure if this is related to hip or not at this point, Dr's can't
really say, I may simply have a knee problem, too. Lucky me. I will add that
running moderately fast is still a challenge. Kinda still limping a little at a
run. It almost seems more due to weakness and not pain. Any imput on if/when
this may get better, runners/joggers?
Well, long post, but that is about it. I will continue to update at times.
Here's hoping all of you will feel this good. If you are someone with a bad hip
comtemplating sx, I hope this helps in your decision. It has changed my life.
Thanks sooo much for this website, Pat! Sincerely, Luann
August 7, 2011
I am now 14 months out from my right HR (age 45, Dr Sparling, Wright
C+) and just yesterday won my 8 month series of cutting show classes. Cutting on
horseback is a fast paced, jolting and jarring ride that first involves singling
a cow out of a big herd, then playing "keep away" with that cow; chasing it back
and forth for a while. You get judged on your riding skills, as well as the
horses ability to separate and "hold" that cow.
My new hip is doing fabulous (yes, I did get my Dr's approval to do this)
through all the shows, practice, and training that we do. And for those of you
who ride , I am riding a reining horse as well.
I hope this gives encouragement and inspiration to ALL athletes and active
people with (or considering) HR. My old, OA hip was paining me terribly while
riding before HR. I have been given back my life and passion!
Soon I will be wearing a shiney new trophy belt buckle that my cutting horse
and I won! I am so excited I will probably wear it to bed!
August 23, 2011
I am at 14 months and am still not "pain free". Today I rode a horse
for 3 1/2 hours and took 2 Advil to help. Towards the end of the ride, I had a
little stiffness, soreness. The key words are "a little". Very manageable, on a
scale of 1-10 just a 1. Compared to before my HR. NO comparison!!
December 22, 2011
I am at 1 1/2 years now, and I still feel like I am not at, what I
remember from the "good ol' days" as full strength. If I am stepping up on
something with my full body weight (5'2" 118 lbs), I still prefer my nonoperated
leg. My HR leg struggles to pull my weight up. I do a lot of exercise, walking,
stat. bike riding, and active cow- horse riding/showing, and I still feel a
little weak. Not sure if this is just life after HR, or if it is ever 100%. A
lot of posting hippies say it can take up to 3 years. I am not really
complaining, I love my HR. I feel it probably saved my life and sanilty.
March 21, 2012
I am doing absolutely fabulous with my Dr. Sparling HR. I am also 45 and
super active. I really feel, apart from being a long distance marathon runner
(which I most likely couldn't have achieved at ANY time in my life! that at this
point, 1 yr 10months preop, I can do anything I want. I ride and train horses in
quite rowdy events and last year won a championship! Anyway, you are correct
about your assessment that Dr. Sparling is not a "warm and fuzzy" personality.
He was recommended to me as an excellent surgeon, and that is what I really
valued. My leg length difference is really my only complaint. I have gotten used
to it, and barely notice it now. However, it is kind of funny because that is
exactly what he told me would happen (in his not so "warm and fuzzy way") It
only bothers me when I stand for long periods, so I make sure I wear my shoes
with a lift when I anticipate this. This aside, it is important to go to the
most experienced, and that would be Dr Prichett. My husband's attitude of "it is
crazy to go all that distance when there is a HR DR right here in the Vancouver
area" is what ultimately made me decide that Prichett was not an option for me.
Good Luck, it wouldn't hurt to get all the opinions you can, from all the close
HR Dr's. I got 5 before I decided (I'll admit, though, they were not all HR
April 6, 2012
I am almost 2 years out. I never "clunked" right after surgery. Then,
about 6 months out, I would feel and hear a slight sound when after bending over
and staightening up. That went on for about a year (never hurt or bothered me
much, and thanks to this website, I didn't worry about it) and this last 6
months or so, I have not felt or heard it since.
July 4, 2012
I am over two years out now. When I was a new surface hippy and
recovering from my surgery, I was reading a lot of posts on this site. One thing
I seemed to come across over and over was that recovery, at least for some(
most?) people can take years. I distinctly remember that at the one year
anniversary of my sx I was feeling much better than at six months. The one year
mark seemed to be a major turning point for me. At six months I was still having
muscle, ligament, and strength recovery issues. At least that is what I assume
they were. I was still quite sore and stiff ( at least, off and on) and felt
very weak in that leg. I kept as positive as I could and hoped all the
experience hippies who said it could take a while were right. They were, of
course! Now at two years, it still keeps getting better.
May 31, 2013
I am very excited to be nearing three years since my surgery! I had a Wright
C+ done on my right hip by Dr Sparling in Vancouver, Wa. I was 45 at the time of
my surgery , female, and am approx. 116 lbs and 5' 2". I
Have had no real pain since my surgery, other than ( what I know now were)
the aches and occasional soreness of recovery. I enjoy a very active lifestyle,
bike riding, hiking, and ( often extreme) horseback riding. My HR was nothing
short of a modern day miracle, and I feel so fortunate to live in this time of
I am STILL improving in my strength. I had heard from other hippies that it
can take years. They were correct. Those of you who recently had surgery, DON'T
Just thought I'd share. I love hearing other's success stories. Hope to be
writing something similar in the years to come.
And again- thank you Pat for this awesome forum.