Jeff’s Bilateral Hip Resurfacing Dr. Pritchett 2012/2013
April 1, 2012
I’m 37 years old and have been playing basketball once a week for the last five years or so. In August I started distance running, running 20-25 miles a week. In October I ran a half-marathon (1 hr. 35 min.) and was really enjoying running. In November, I started to feel serious pain in my hips after I ran, then it became persistent. A few weeks of inactivity didn’t help I went to the doctor, who referred me to Dr. Pritchett (I’m in the Seattle area). In January he told me that I have dysplasia in both hips and have developed arthritis in both hips. After an MRI he told me I also have FAI and torn labrum on both sides that may be part of the pain (they may have been caused by the dysplasia).
April 3, 2013
I took the plunge and had my right hip resurfaced by Dr. Pritchett in Seattle on Monday, April 1 (I wanted a little comedy 🙁 ). This board has been critical and a huge help for me to make my decision, and your stories have really helped me know what to expect. I’ve decided to keep a detailed blog of my experiences (see my signature line) to help others know what to expect from this surgery, especially what surgery with Dr. Pritchett is like. I have scheduled to do the left hip on May 20th, so I’m going to be relatively aggressive with getting this over with (I’m spacing surgeries seven weeks apart, Dr. Pritchett minimum is six weeks).
Surgery day went better than I expected. I was sedated when they did the spinal anesthesia, and didn’t wake up until I was heading to the recovery room. I was able to walk around my room with a walker with PT, but threw up both my lunch and dinner that day. Next time I would insist on more aggressive nausea management before the surgery.
Day 2 went well, and I successfully walked the hallways and stairs with my crutches. I was also able to shower and dress by myself and ate all my meals without any nausea. I was discharged from the hospital around 2 PM, and was able to use crutches to get into my house, my bed on the second floor, etc. Unfortunately, around 5 PM my leg muscles really started to tighten, even with consistent icing. I was in much more discomfort by the second night.
Night #2, my first at home, was rough. My mom woke me up every few hours to take my pain meds. At 12:30 AM I decided to take my full dose of pain pills (I had been taking one pill every three hours, this time I took two). When my mom got me up at 3:30 AM, I had got out of bed to go to the bathroom (pretty rough getting in and out of bed still as our bed is really high). On my way back to my bed, I started to get really dizzy and light-headed. I stopped, set my crutches down and held on to the bathroom counter to keep myself upright. My mom saw I was about to faint, and called for my wife and dad to help. Luckily, they were able to ease me back gently to lay on the floor so I didn’t have a hard landing or hurt my hip.
Once my dad helped me back in bed I ate some snacks (banana, club crackers, water) to get my strength back. I decided to stick to the one pain pill level that was working for me earlier. Day #3 I’ve continued to have significant tightness in my hip and leg muscles, and I’m trying to stick with the icing and my PT exercises the hospital gave me. My wife also got me a hand-held urinal so I can maybe avoid having to go to the bathroom as much in the middle of the night.
April 8, 2013
I’m a week post-op, and my leg strength is definitely improving. I’ve gone out walking with crutches most days, and I’m able to go further each day. My big issue right now is that my hip is still very swollen. I haven’t noticed much improvement on this in the last few days even though I’ve been icing and resting regularly.
I had been hoping to be back to work next week, but I’d need the swelling to subside first.
May 7, 2013
I’m 5 weeks out now and it’s just in the last few days I feel that I’m not limping. I was definitely limping at 3 weeks, and even at 4 weeks I had a little limp. I think the swelling in those first few weeks made my leg feel a little longer, plus it made it uncomfortable to put my full weight on that leg. It’s only been the last week or so that I feel comfortable distributing my weight evenly across both legs when standing or putting all my weight on my operated leg.
When I talked to my physical therapist at the end of week 3 I said I was walking everywhere but work without a cane (I went back to work at 2.5 weeks out with a crutch, then moved to a cane at the beginning of week 3). I asked if I should keep using the cane at work. He watched me walk without a cane and said I still had a visible limp and that it would be better to wait until the limp went away to walk long distances without a cane. He just gave me the OK to ditch the cane at work last Friday, almost the end of week 4.
May 18, 2013
7 week update: It’s been a few weeks since my last update. I’m doing well overall, and am pleased by how quickly things seem to be healing. It’s amazing the improvement from one week to the next in this early phase. Some more details about my recovery:
I’ve been surprised by how little pain I experienced during this recovery. I stopped taking the serious pain pills on day 4 and stopped taking even Tylenol a week later. The swelling finally did start to go down about 1.5 weeks after surgery, but it was closer to three weeks before it was gone altogether. I was able to return to the office at 2.5 weeks, and have worked full-time since then. I was down to a cane at 3 weeks, and stopped using it at 5 weeks (my PT suggested I needed it until then due to some limping).
From week 5 to week 7 I’ve noticed a big difference in muscle strength. Just in the last week I’m able to walk almost any distance without getting tired or feeling sore. I’m able to distribute my weight between both legs evenly without pain (took until almost week 6), and I no longer feel like my operated leg is longer than my other leg. I’ve also noticed a big difference in strength walking up stairs normally (i.e. skipping steps). At week 5 I could do it with significant effort, but now it’s almost normal.
Going forward I still have a ways to go on range of motion (I just got off 90 degree precaution last week), and I still have stiffness when I stand after sitting for a while. By the end of the day I still feel a little sore, though that’s getting better. My muscles are still a little tight, and I feel a pinching or pulling sensation when I extend my leg behind me too far while walking (i.e. with a long stride). Overall I would say that while people say my walking motion looks normal now, it still doesn’t feel normal to me for the above reasons. Any feedback on when you started to feel totally normal when walking?
I’m encouraged so far in my recovery, but now comes the next step – I’m getting the left side done on Monday (5/20). I’m not sure that I’m ready to start over again, but I am glad to get it over with and get on with recovery.
May 28, 2013
I’m one week out from my second hip resurfacing surgery with Dr. Pritchett in Seattle. I got my RBHR surgery seven weeks earlier (Dr. Pritchett’s minimum is six weeks) on April 1 (see my story http://surfacehippy.info/hiptalk/hip-stories/new-hippy-dr-pritchett-april-2013/), and on May 20th I got my left side done.
One of the concerns I had as the date for the second surgery date approached was whether my right leg would be strong enough to support my recovery. Luckily, between week 5 and 7 my right leg strength improved substantially, and it was good that I had a week to focus on range of motion after my six week restrictions were removed. I would say that it would have been much more of a challenge at six weeks, but seven weeks between surgeries has been very doable. My right leg has been up to whatever I’ve needed it to do, and I’ve had no issues with pain on that side, etc.
While waiting longer between surgeries may have been easier, I wanted to get my recovery over with and just push through. I would also say it’s easier to go back through the surgery the second time around when the experience of the first surgery is fresh in my memory. I knew exactly what to expect, and while it doesn’t make it easier, it is also nice that I’m not regressing after being used to great function on the other side (i.e. I was only off a cane on the other side for two weeks).
In terms of the second surgery, it seems like it has been more traumatic / difficult than the first surgery. Dr. Pritchett told me after the surgery that it was more difficult than he expected (he said he had to make some adjustments due the fact that my hips are not symmetrical), and I’ve had more substantial and deeper bruising with this surgery than the last. The surgery / incision pain is definitely greater as well, and is still pretty substantial at one week post-op. I’ve been down to Tylenol since day 4 mostly due to the way the main pain meds made me feel, but I’m in more pain just sitting or laying down than I was at this point last time around.
One big improvement is that I have significantly less swelling with this surgery. I got much bigger ice bags than I had initially with the last surgery, and was very aggressive about regular and consistent icing. As a result, the swelling is much less than with the right side and my left leg hasn’t felt longer than my right so far – a big improvement.
While I’m walking much better after this surgery as a result of the reduced swelling (I’ve been walking with crutches 1-2 miles a day since day 4), I also have a lot more clicking and clunking sensations. While I had this on the right side as well, on the left side I have clicking / clunking sensations in my hip area as well as on my left thigh and knee. I’m guessing the thigh and knee sensations are due to the muscle trauma from the surgery, but I’m curious if any of you experienced this and how long it took for this to go away?
Anyway, I’m getting bored of the couch and television and eager to get past this initial phase, but I’m optimistic about my recovery outlook given my good experience overall with my other hip. As always, your stories are inspirational and your feedback and advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much for this board!