Author Topic: A Newbie needs your advice...  (Read 2467 times)

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Jerome Arnold

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A Newbie needs your advice...
« on: February 09, 2010, 12:53:11 AM »
Hello, this my first post and I would appreciate your advice.  I plan on scheduling my left hip resurfacing this year due to OA.  I was quite active, and reading your stories of regaining high levels of activity is exciting.  I don't think a resurfaced joint will be equal to a natural joint, but anticipate I will become pain free and hopefully resume moderate levels of activities that I previously enjoyed.

My present status:
-  California resident, but travel is not a restriction
-  My present physican selection has been narrowed to either Dr. Thomas Vail (UCSF) or Dr. Thomas Gross
-  Cement (Dr. Vail) Vs Cemetless (Dr. Gross)...I presently favor a cemetless resurfacing with Dr. Gross

1.  Are there significant challenges with cross country surgery?  In my case, I live in California and may have my surgery in South Carolina.  If you have made a similar trip, I would be interested in learning from your experiences. 
2.  If my surgery is outside of California, my rehab will be remote from the surgeon.  If you have had a hip resurfacing outside your home state, I would appreciate you sharing your experiences.
3.  I want to resume, trail jogging, road biking, soccer and lower body weight lifting.  If you are at least 6 months post surgery, please forward your thoughts on how how well your body has adapted with the resurfaced joint and if you felt you were in danger of dislocation or damaging your femoral head or socket.
4.  I think Dr. Vail and Dr. Gross are world class surgeons.  If you have any experiences either of these surgeons or staff, I would appreciate you sharing your thoughts.
5.  Any other advice you would like to share would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Pat Walter

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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 01:03:11 PM »
Hi Jerome
Welcome to Hip Talk.

You selection of a surgeon and decision whether to go cementless or cemented will be a personal decision.  My only suggestions is always to use the most experinced hip resurfacing surgeon you can.

I flew to Belgium for my resurfacing and hundreds of others have flown across country or to foreign countries.  We have all done fine.  Many surgeons don't recommend special PT after leaving the hospital and their facilities.  I stayed in Belgium 9 days and received basic PT, but was not required to do any when I got home. Dr. De Smet along with many others recommends patients to walk, walk and walk.  Once you are well healed at 3 or 4 months, you will most likely be cleared to be able to do whatever you want.  Some surgeons wait until 6 months.  You hip will not be completely healed for a full year, but well healed enought to do most sports at 6 months.

I have stories of every kind of athletes doing most sports you can think of. Here's a page with many of the stories   http://www.surfacehippy.info/athletes.php

There are a lot of Dr. Gross patients on this group and they will tell you their surgeon is best while those using others will tell you their surgeon is best.  I always suggest using Dr. De Smet from Belgium since he has done way over 3000 hip resurfacings.  The overseas surgeons have done many more than the US surgeons, but many people don't want to fly overseas.

So you will need to talk with others and eventually listen to that little voice inside your head to decide on a doctor.  Once you choose the doctor - they will choose the best device for your situation.  You can ask for a specific device, but the surgeon is the most important part of the equation.

Stay in touch and ask questions.

Webmaster/Owner of Surface Hippy
3/15/06 LBHR De Smet


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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 05:03:12 PM »
Hello Jerome.

The number one reason for resuface failure is that it was not installed properly. The surgeon selection is critical to the success. I had a left hip done by Doctor Gross on Nov. 16. I'm now walking without a cane and feels great.

Dr. gross believes that the glue used in a cemented hip is a weak point of fixation. I believe he is the only surgeon currently using a press fit application that promotes bone growth as a fixation on the femoral head. The acetabular componet has been cementless for many years and has proven to be a reliable method of fixation. Why not make the femoral component cementless also? Dr. Gross worked with Biomet to develop the cementless product for use on the femoral head. There is no data to confirm that this method is any better (or worse) than a cemented head. The product is very new and will take many years to play out whether there is any real advantge or not. Dr. Gross believes it will be superior in the long haul. I sure hope he's right! 

The entire experience with Dr. gross was wonderful and I highly recommend him. He will tell you what pysical exercise is good or bad. If high impact sports should be eliminated then so be it. Be glad you have a new hip and do what ever you need to do to make it last as long as possible.

Best of luck and keep us posted!



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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 11:25:08 PM »

Hi Jerome,
I had my left hip resurfaced by Dr. Gross almost a year and half ago.  I had a really great experience and would highly recommend Dr. Gross.  One of the reasons I chose Dr. Gross was because I felt that the argument for cementless was compelling.  Don does a good job of summarizing it in his previous post.

I traveled from Salt Lake City, Utah for my surgery with Dr. Gross.  For me, it was perhaps a little easier than some because my sister lives in North Carolina.  So, we drove the 3 hours back to her house when I was released from the hospital and I was able to hang at her house until flying home a week later.  However, when I did fly home, I traveled alone and it was fine. 

Dr. Gross, his staff, the hospital, the hotel, the pharmacy, etc.. are all accustomed to having many patients travel far for surgery with him and they have it down to a science.  The hotel is conveniently right across the parking lot from the hospital.  Don't worry about the travel.

I'm very happy with the results of my resurfacing.  I snowboard, mountain bike, road cycle, play golf, do yoga and have started to do some running.  My resurfaced hip is much better than my old hip has been in over 12 years.   To answer your questions about concerns of dislocation, etc…  Like most informed patients, I was cautious for the first 6 months and especially for the first 6 weeks or so.  I worried anytime I tripped, or overdid it, or there was some new feeling or something.  After 6 months, I felt like I was safe and all is good.  Now, I really don’t have any concerns at all.  My hip really feels solid!

Best of luck with your decision.  Please feel free to keep the questions coming!




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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2010, 01:42:09 AM »
You have another good option in San Diego at UCSD, Dr. Scott Ball. He did my HR. He has done a good number and you will find positive patient experiences with Dr. Ball on this website.

I developed a staph infection 7 weeks post op and ended up back in the hospital for 10 days for 2 operations to clean the infection in the hip. I am sure glad I was able to get back to San Diego quickly (one hour flight from Phoenix). If I stayed in Phoenix for infection cleanup I would have ended up with a revised total hip. Getting back to Dr. Ball saved my HR.

So, I am somewhat sensitive to the distance between the patient and the surgeon. If everything goes fine, which is usually the case, then distance and travel time&cost are not a factor. If something like an infection happens then proximity does matter. A low but unfortuately real risk.


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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2010, 08:53:40 PM »
I just scheduled my rgt. hip resurfacing with Dr. Scott Ball, and am wondering if I should even think about getting someone with more experience?  What was your experience like?


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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2010, 11:46:06 PM »
I highly recommend Dr. Ball. I had a very good experience with him. And the Thorton Hospital in La Jolla is absolutely top notch. He is very personable and listens to what you have to say. I knew at our initial consult that he was the surgeon for me.

There are a few Dr. Ball patient stories under Hip Stories on the Home Page.


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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #7 on: February 17, 2010, 11:53:16 PM »
Hey bdubswims,

I had both hips resurfaced by Dr. Ball nov 2008 and everything turned out absolutly perfect for me.
Believe me he has plenty of experience. He eats, breathes,and sleeps hips. E-mail me if you would like to know my experience with him and his staff and I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

11-7-08  Bilat/Dr.Ball/ASR


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Re: A Newbie needs your advice...
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2010, 12:56:04 AM »
Another happy Dr. Ball patient here. I'm a bilat approaching 2 yrs post-op. I highly recommend Dr. Ball and the hospital he practices at. The resurfacing has given an active life back to me. I wrote my hip story in another section of Pat's site - should update it again with all the great things I've been able to do since the surgery.

Good luck, and feel free to contact me if you have any questions,
Bilateral 02/08, 03/08, Dr. Ball



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