I recently realized that my 10 year anniversary of my hip resurfacing is here! I had my left hip resurfaced by Dr. De Smet in late 2007. About five years ago, I had my metals level checked and sent the results to Dr. De Smet…his reply was that it looked like my hip would be fine for at least 100 more years (metals levels were fine). Since then, I’ve done exactly the same thing with my hip every day: ignore it. My hip feels like it’s always felt since my surgical incision healed, which is that it is an integral and natural part of my body. I am grateful to Dr. DeSmet for giving me my life back. I surf, windsurf, ski, bike ride and basically do whatever I want. I have zero physical restrictions, except of course that my entire body is 10 years older and a bit slower (I’m now 68).
I know I’m only one case, but I hope my success will be a good data point for those considering this path. There is no doubt that the Birmingham system is a well-engineered product. Match that product with an expert surgeon, and there is a high likelihood of success. I was turned down by the doctors at Stanford as a candidate for hip resurfacing, but accepted by Dr. DeSmet, who knew far better than Stanford what could work with my body. I would encourage candidates for this surgery to choose their surgeon carefully, and not to let cost or distance be a factor. I would also suggest that people look at the whole ‘package’ that is offered, including the rehab protocols. As far as I’m concerned, getting in a warm pool the day after surgery and using zero gravity to assist with ROM and overall recovery was a brilliant strategy (I’m assuming De Smet is still using it). As soon as I got back from Belgium, I kept up the water routine I learned in Ghent in my local pool using a wetsuit to keep warm. I’m convinced that using the pool regularly was important in my rapid recovery.
Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! Best of luck to everyone. If I remember, I’ll send another update in 2027.
Rod Windle, Ph.D.