This week marks six months since my left hip resurfacing with Dr. Pritchett, below is my personal hip resurfacing story.
All in all, I feel really good. Range of motion continues to improve. In some planes of movement, it is now significantly better than it was before surgery. I am still sore in my glute and outer flank of my quad. Wouldn’t call it pain, but sore, like after a solid leg workout. Keep in mind though (for those who’ve followed my story), I was in excruciating muscle pain in the weeks after surgery. I believe I am just one of those people for whom it may be 18-months before I feel “normal”
I’ve just begun some very light impact sport. The first test was at the Oregon Coast on vacation with family and friends. I did some light jogging while playing frisbee and catch with a football on the beach. Afterward, I felt remarkably better than I had anticipated. My only additional soreness was in some of the lateral stabilizer muscles that hadn’t seen much action in quite awhile.
At the gym, I’m sticking with a lower weight cross-fit routine. I get a great pump, work-up a good lather and keep my heart rate up. I’m just now starting to add some light jogging/walking on the treadmill. It feels a little awkward, but great at the same time.
As I mentioned in my 2-month post, my short external rotators continue to be the slowest to recover. They get stronger with exercise each week, but it’s a slow go. I have a couple times gotten an horrible cramp in the muscles while stretching. You know the kind of cramp that almost causes you to hit the reset button on the gut? Yeah, that kind.
But as I stated at the beginning, overall I feel good. My last PT session was last week and I’m continuing on my own at home. Best part? I don’t get woken up at night by osteoarthritis pain in my left hip!
To those of you who are in your 30s like me and considering surgery… I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. And my recovery has not been the sunshine, rainbows, and flowers that some folks on here report. In the early days, mine was more like puking rainbows and as impacted as a desert flowerbed!
I look forward to the months and years ahead.
2 Month Update
Just passed the two month mark on my Pritchett installed BHR. Progress has been pretty linear the last four weeks. The only setback came when my aging dog tangled in my feet and I levered her off of my left foot. That sent a shot of pain in my hip. I felt a little hobbled for a couple days, but it has passed. I think I overstressed the hip capsule or any number of the other smaller ligaments and muscles surrounding the joint.
Most of the tightness in the front of my groin has disappeared and my gait is now normal. Friends who haven’t seen me in a few weeks have a hard time believing how rapidly I have progressed.
The most pain I had after surgery, was in the area directly below the incision, extending to the lateral part of the knee. That area is still quite tender. Dr. Pritchett indicated that due to the muscularity of my legs, the internal rotation of the leg during surgery, likely caused a severe pull of the vastus lateralis and the lateral head of the hamstrings. My PT has been doing some deep massage that hurts like hell, but overall has helped to improve the pain.
Strength wise, the most stubborn muscle group is the short external rotators… the muscles whose tendons are cut from the bone to allow internal rotation during surgery. They are later reattached through a hole drilled in the bone. When my PT did a test last week, that had me lying on my left side and trying to externally rotate and touch my left foot to the inside of my elevated right leg, I couldn’t do it. But in just a few short days, by performing some simple exercises, they’re starting to come online. I didn’t realize how crucial those muscles were to tasks like putting on pants, socks, etc. until after a few days of work, and those tasks became easier.
I’m at the gym lifting three days a week. I’m careful when using dumbbells above 50 pounds, to carry them one at a time to my work area, so as not to put too much stress on my hip. The only workout my legs are getting is from swimming three days a week and walking. I think the swimming has also greatly helped in my recovery.
After long suffering from FAI, most of the impingement is gone. I still get some sharp pains when drawing my knee toward my chest, but I think it’s too early to tell if that’s related to surgery, or some remnant of the FAI (scar tissue, inflamed tissue, etc.)
All in all, I am increasingly happy with the outcome and my decision to have BHR surgery. Looking forward to months ahead and getting back to everything I used to do!
FIVE WEEK UPDATE
Several changes in the last couple weeks. After ditching one crutch in week three, I pretty quickly moved over to the cane. I spent about five days on the cane, when I started walking on my own. Since then, I’ve only occasionally used the cane when I’ve been sore.
The snapping in the tendons/ligaments and such has reduced significantly since starting physical therapy. Day by day, I can tell I’m getting more range of motion in the joint, but I’m still REALLY tight in the anterior most part of my groin. My therapist tends to think that half of that is related to surgery and the other half to my posture for the last 20 years. The pain in my hips caused me to tilt my pelvis forward. That’s led to a massive dominance of my hip flexors over the iliopsosas, which has become weak, inflexible and shortened. I have a lot of work ahead to strengthen the psosas and regain a more normal pelvic tilt.
Secondly, I still have a fair amount of soreness along the incision site. It has healed beautifully, but it’s sore. Specifically, if I’m not warmed up well and flex my glutes, I have a lot of tugging along the greater trochanter. Also, I still can’t sleep on my operative side. Too much pressure causes burning pain.
What’s the time frame other hippies went back to comfortably sleeping on their operative side?
One Month Update
Today I’m exactly one month out from left hip resurfacing with Dr. Pritchett. Results of an MRI just revealed a bulging disc that is causing sciatica on my right side. Lots of ice, stretching and continued core work are planned between now and January 23rd.
As others on here have written, I’m in a phase right now where my left hip isn’t that bothersome. My ROM is horrible, but it’s been that way for years. I have both mild dysplasia and pretty severe impingement. While I don’t want to give myself false hopes, I think there is a good chance (once fully healed) my hip will be more functional than it has ever been.
Still, as the date moves closer, I find myself over analyzing my decision to have surgery and growing anxious. At 37, I feel a bit betrayed by my genetics… something I think a lot of us younger BHR patients have in common.
I want to say thank you to everyone past, present and future who contributes to this forum and to the doctors contributing to the science of joint replacement orthopedics. All of you have been immeasurably helpful in making what is arguably the biggest decision of my life.
Second Hip Resurfacing
December 17, 2012
ONE WEEK UPDATE:
Hard to believe it’s already been a week since Dr. Pritchett installed BHR #2. I won’t rehash what I’ve already posted, but I will tell you where I’m at right how.
After a few pretty good days, I’m really sore today. And best I can figure, it has something to do with a big reduction in swelling. Yesterday evening, I knew something was afoot when I started urinating every 15 minutes. And I don’t mean a little trickle… but a full bladder emptying. And this went on for a good 3 1/2 hours.
I measured with a tape and my thigh decreased 3 inches in circumference, in less than a day. But now, from my incision to my knee, the muscle/IT band hurts like a mo-fo. So just when I thought I could start ditching the narco meds, I’m back on them. I suppose there should be little about this that is surprising to me. I guess I was just hoping this time around would be a little easier. But I guess nothing good ever is, right?
December 21, 2012
I’m now 11 days out from surgery and doing pretty well. I have a far greater range of motion this time around. I’m already frequently using just one crutch to get around. Yesterday, Dr. Pritchett took out the stitches and took X-rays. Everything looks great.
He did tell me a bit more about trying to seat my acetabular component. He said my bone density is so high, he couldn’t get the anti-rotational fins to engage. They just kept popping out. So they kept rotating the component until they found a spot where the bone was soft enough to allow those fins to dig in. Since they spent so much time hammering, that’s likely what woke me up.
Interestingly, I shot off a picture of my X-rays to a friend with engineering computer software to measure my component placement. My first implant, the left, has an inclination angle of 37.47 degrees. The second, my right, is 37.59. I couldn’t freaking believe it! Dr. Pritchett is a fantastic surgeon, but there was obvious luck involved as well.
There were a couple of interesting things to come out of my conversation with Dr. Pritchett. As I mentioned, the weekend before my surgery, he attended a hip resurfacing conference with Dr. McMinn and many of the other top surgeons. He said one of the big topics was metal ion testing. Dr. Pritchett says more and more doctors are becoming averse to such tests. He says as a growing number of patients insist on getting the tests, surgeons are increasingly seeing just how poor of a diagnostic tool they are. Even within the same lab, blood tested my different lab personnel can come back with wildly different results. Furthermore, a few patients of Dr. Pritchett’s who’ve insisted on tests and they come back at the higher end, have then wanted MRIs…. and they have all come back problem free. Likely to be a debate that continues for quite a while.
Also, Dr. Pritchett recently called NY Times writer Barry Meier to directly voice his concerns about his biased reporting. Dr. Pritchett says Meier basically admitted to him that the metal-on-metal panic stories, draw a great number of readers to the NYT website. And that he’s flooded with hundreds of emails from happy HSR patients every time he writes a new article.
As a fellow journalist, this sickens me. I’ve always gone after the truth in any story I’ve ever reported. And many times, the truth I’ve found, is not the truth I expected to find. That’s what makes the job so exhilarating and fun. I think most journalists would agree. But sadly, the few rotten apples spoil the whole bunch… which, coincidentally, is exactly what Meier has done in his reporting of MOM prosthetics. He’s writing about a few bad apples and letting them spoil the whole bunch.
One Year Update of My Hip Resurfacing Story
January 31, 2013
Hard to believe it’s been one year since my first BHR surgery. Maybe it’s because the new one is less than two months old. First, I’ll say that even though I’m only 38, I do not regret for one second having surgery. It’s a pretty remarkable thing to be pain free. By this summer, I’ll be at seven months on the new one, and will be able to be pretty active.
Those of you who’ve been here awhile will remember it was a bit of a rough go for me the first few weeks. But over the course of the next several months, I improved by leaps and bounds. I’d say the hip really started to feel like “mine” at about 7 months. That’s when most of the clunking had passed and the pain in my quad. That’s also when I started to notice dramatic improvement in my range of motion. It continues to improve to this day.
Where I’m hoping for continued improvement is in flexed external rotation — the “sock-putting-on” position. I don’t quite have the strength to easily pull my left foot over my right knee. Doing so without help from my hand can also induce a stomach churning cramp high in my groin area. Dr. Pritchett believes both will come with time. As he said, “You’re only a year out.” I think part of the problem has been my recently resurfaced right hip, limiting me from some stretches and exercises that could be helping me.
Speaking of that hip… it’s doing very well. I’ll reach the two month mark next week. It feels about a month and a half ahead of where I was with the left side. None of the excruciating quad pain, a lot more strength and ROM, and generally just “better”. I had my six week followup with Dr. Pritchett and he said the x-ray looked great. He doesn’t feel a need to see me again until the one-year mark.
I think what is going to be challenging this time, is making sure to take it slow. Last time I didn’t have an appetite the first few weeks and actually lost about 10 pounds. This time I *did* have an appetite… and during the holidays no-less. I’ve gained about 10 pounds. Back at work now, the shirt collars and suits are fitting a bit snug. I asked Dr. Pritchett about any potential harm in reducing calories during this critical time of bone ingrowth. He said as long as it’s nothing too drastic, there isn’t a problem.
All and all, I’m a very happy hippy. I will consider this a success if I’m able to be super active and adventurous with my kids until the last one heads off to college. That’s 13 years. Of course, I hope I’ve had my last hip-surgery ever, but only time will tell.