Limper’s Hip Resurfacing with Dr. Su 2013
March 3, 2011
I had SCFE as a kid, and the pining procedure on my left hip didn’t take/lead to AVN, so I had a subsequent osteotomy. I later had a pin placed in my right hip, which was successful. All of this surgery was performed in 1981 & 1982. I went on to athletics in high school and college, a few marathons, triathlons, etc. In 2003 my left hip started to bother me as I was training for a marathon, so I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who said, more or less, knock it off. I quit running, but I still skied, and occasionally played a game of handball, went on hikes, etc. There was always some level of pain, but nothing I couldn’t live with (thank you Costco for the horse-bucket sized bottles of ibuprofen).
Then, about six weeks ago, things started to go south. The pain in my left hip ratcheted up quickly, to the point that I couldn’t get up stairs, couldn’t walk more than few blocks, and had trouble getting to sleep. I went to see an orthopedic surgeon who took xrays and said that my hips were in pretty crappy shape, which surprised me as my right hip is pain free. He sent me for an MRI to be sure, but then said that I was to the point that there were no options short of replacement for the left hip. On the xray the top of my left hip looks like the head of a flamingo. I asked about resurfacing, and he said that his practice (he and two other docs)was generally anti-resurfacing because of the metal on metal risks, recent advisories, etc., and that I wasn’t a good candidate anyway because of AVN. I have an appointment with that practice’s replacement guy at the end of April.
I have read a lot of opinions by doctors, all of whom seem qualified to me, and the opinions are all over the map. Some say that resurfacing is the best option for younger people, especially active males, and others say that there are no advantages over full on replacement, and that resurfacing has additional risks which are therefore unwarranted.
In the meantime, the pain has subsided somewhat, probably because I am babying it and have stopped all exercise. It still hurts, but I can get up stairs again, and I can walk a few blocks at a time. I’m seriously considering some sort of surgical solution, and I’m researching options.
January 13, 2013
My surgery on Friday went well. Thank you to all for the words of encouragement. My case was a little more complicated than most as I had some old hardware in there from the early 1980’s, and there was some chance that a resurfacing would not be possible. Fortunately the old hardware (some old plates and screws) didn’t present a problem and the resurfacing was installed successfully. I hope to be released to go home in a couple of hours.
January 24, 2013
Tomorrow will be two weeks out. My surgery was on a Friday and I was home on Sunday afternoon. I did not have any major pain and did not take any pain killers after the day of surgery. I did not bother to get the prescription filled and so far the only discomfort I have had is some muscle soreness and bruising. I don’t know if this has anything to do with my particular pain threshold, or whether mine is high or low, as I have nothing to compare it to. It could be I’m a hard case, or a total ninny – I just don’t know. Bottom line is that your milage may vary, but I have been more or less pain free since the day of surgery (it did smart in the recovery room.)
I had originally planned to have a family member here to help me during my recovery, as my wife works full time, but another health crisis of another family member prevented that. As a result, I have been largely on my own since I got home, which has not been a problem. If there were an emergency there is a babysitter in the apartment (we have three small kids), but I have been spending my days in a part of the apartment segregated from them. Since the first day home I have been able to run errands on my crutches, so long as I don’t try to retrieve anything too large. Crutches make picking up the laundry etc. more or less impossible, but smaller items are doable. It helps that we live in NYC so everything we need is right on the block. It also makes it possible to hobble down to the corner to have coffee or lunch, which has been nice.
I started working from home more or less right away, in very small doses, and have been gearing up since. I plan to be back in the office on Monday, although I will probably need to take a car service or a cab. I don’t feel ready for the morning rush on the subway.
The PT exercises have been fairly easy, with the exception of anything involving the lifting of my leg. I think the big muscle on the front of the thigh is the quadriceps, and mine is still pretty sore and weak. I’m working on it. I’m still using crutches, but I’m bearing more and more weight all the time. So far so good.
The staples in my leg (32!) were removed on Monday, after which the shower felt luxurious. As a general matter, the bathroom has ceased to be the fortress of solitude and contemplation it once was, as navigating it with a bum leg has been somewhat challenging. I found the loud use of bad language helpful. Mercifully, my leg has become a little more mobile and things have improved.
I’m a long way from running marathons, but so far everything seems to be on track.
March 4, 2013
I’m seven weeks post op and so far this thing is pretty great. The pain was gone immediately after the surgery, which by itself was pretty miraculous, but perhaps more amazing is the level of functionality that has returned. Bending to put on my sock and shoe in the morning is a little challenging, but I can manage. Other than that, I would say I’m at a higher level of function than I was before the surgery. I caught myself running down a flight of stairs a few days ago and had to remind myself to take it easy. The limp is gone, I’m back at the gym, and with the exception of some tenderness around the scar I don’t have any reminders. I should have had this done years ago.