Author Topic: what made you decide to resurface or "just stick it out" and not have surgery?  (Read 6550 times)

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i am wondering where the line is drawn for deciding to go for it.
i have pain only sometimes.  yes, i have very limited range of motion.  too much bending down to pick things up will yield some pain but it goes away.
i can walk basically for hours without pain, sometimes, though, this is not the case and either my hip, groin, or knee will hurt.
sleeping on my side is pretty much impossible as i will wake up with some hip and groin pain.
situps and leg lifts will induce pain in groin and hip and si joint area.
sitting cross legged and/or "indian style" is out of the question.
carrying heavy things will induce some pain.  and squatting is out of the question.

basically, i can live life without it.  only, i cannot do things that i want to do, like ride a bike.  even more so, i want to go back to kayaking and surfing.  i am only 38.  my fears are that i will be not able to do much and will need a thr down the road if i go and get this hr done.
i had a doc say i need arthroscopy to fix bilateral fai, with some arthritis, and labral tears, which was a year ago.  i freaked out because of the recovery rate not being very high.  the films from a year ago pointed out "no narrowing of joint space," so i assumed that i was good to go and easy recoup.  but not so fast.
i hear of people not being able to twist or move with some aggression afterwards, perhaps forever afterwards.  not that i can do that now, but do i want that after "corrective surgery?"

anyhow- i am wondering how back you all were before you went under the knife, in comparison.
i am worried i might be making a mistake!

thank you


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Hello JD,

I am only 43 years old and 14 weeks after a LBHR, I was exactly like you, I could walk and train to a point but it is only now that I relise how limited I had become, the last two weeks prior to surgery I kept asking my wife did I really need the surgery....she finally had enough one day and said..you limp and walk like a ninty year old man, WHAT DO YOU THINK !!!.

It's not just the hip, it's the knee, the back, just about everything is effected, my wife say's I look five years younger, without the constant grimace I must have had on my face.

Only you can make the decision when you feel is the time to consider surgery, it is major mate and you do have to be patient with your recovery, but I sit here with my laptop on my crossed legs, for the first time in years.

I wish you well


LBHR 23/01/2009 Mr Mcminn


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I am 14 weeks post RBHR and have not looked back. In hindsight I should have had the surgery earlier . Let me explain. I have had osteoarthritis for 4 years and it progressively got worse - my limp was more pronounced, could not bend easily, avoided stairs, could no longer jog, was taking painkillers, and to be honest, I was changing my life gradually to accomodate my aching hip.
I now realise that I was actually kidding myself that "things are'nt so bad" when everyone around me could see that it was getting worse - I just did'nt want to admit to it as I was so afraid of the surgery. I quite honestly did not realise that I was so bad then!
The deciding factor for me was when I had to take a group of students on a long scenic hike down to a beach and I had to admit to them that I could not make it there and back. They asked "why?" . They asked why I did'nt do anything about it. I had to admit to myself that things were just going to get worse and not better and that I was behaving like an elderly person.
In retrospect, once you start to compromise your lifestyle you ought to start to seriously consider surgery. Best of luck!


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Hello JD

I'm awaiting my hip surgery but I have no doubt that I need it! How can I be so certain? For the last 4 years or so I have been suffering (varying amounts) - for the first 2 yrs I admit I was in denial, telling myself I'd pulled a muscle and stuffing down another couple of Paracetamol when the groin pain got really bad. After all I was far too young to have arthritis!!

From what I've heard it's common place that you don't suffer all the time and even now that I have taken the decision to go ahead, I have days when I'm almost normal (doubt my friends would agree with that statement)! But walk a lot, do an hours gardening etc., and it can swiftly become another matter entirely!

For me, and most others I suspect, this has been a process of "slow erosion" - you don't suddenly wake up in pain and think "must be resurfaced"!! What happens is slowly, over time (like water dripping on a stone) and without really thinking about it you start to compensate for your body's inability to do the things you've always done e.g. you walk less; you put on your shoes in a different way; you struggle to cut your toes nails; you avoid hard seats; you avoid stairs; you can't get up from the floor etc. Then, one day, you suddenly realise you're in pain more often than not and that you have stopped doing lots of things you used to take for granted. I asked Mr McMinn about this and he said "the decision to go ahead is pain driven" and I think that pretty well sums it up but it's also down to how much inconvenience and erosion of life quality you are willing to tolerate.

It's your decision, of course, and anything with an element of risk has to be carefully considered but, for me, life's too short to waste it limping around in pain when there's an alternative!

I wish us both luck,
S x


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Three things did it for me for my first BHR in 2004:

*   a physio friend of mine stopping me as I was walking (limping!) past him at an athletics track.    He said if you don't get that hip fixed soon you'll cause all sorts of problems with your back.

*   waking up in the night with severe pain and not being able to find any comfortable position.

*   knowing that there's a window of opportunity for a BHR.    Leave it too late and the option for BHR goes out of the window.

I had my other hip BHR at an earlier point.

Having said that, every person is different.    Do what you feel is best for you.

LBHR 25 May 2004
RBHR 19 March 2008


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I will be 43 in July and I too am on the fence.  I have been in pain for the last 3-4 years, but it hasn't really affected my lifestyle until the last 9 months.

I am contemplating the surgery in the Fall because:
- I am getting tired of waking up in the morning and wondering if I will have a "Bad" or "Decent" day in terms of pain.   It's a "Cummulative"-type thing...even on days where the pain isn't "that" bad it keeps adding up.
- I want to take my kids to Disney again next year, and walking around there like Quasi-Moto doesn't appeal to me.
- I am used to playing tennis all Summer, I know this year is down the tubes, so if I do the surgery in the Fall, I may be able to salvage next Summer.
- Surgery is always "Hanging over my head" and knowing the condition is only going to worsen makes me want to get it over with.
- I look forward to watching Seinfeld Re-Runs during my Re-Hab....


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That line is obviously going to be different for each of us.  From this website I found a group whose stories, symptoms, questions and concerns resonated with my own painful situation.  By reading about those who then went through the surgery, I was absolutely certain that I was making the right decision at the right time.  Those stories helped me to know what ups and downs to expect during recovery, how to choose a surgeon, what questions to ask, and what expectations I should have 6mths and 1 year down the recovery road.  

I think you finally get to the point of being tired of the pain, tired of not being able to do what you enjoy doing, and compensating and making decisions based on how your hip feels.  It's been very liberating to have gone through the surgery in Janurary on my left hip, and seeing what a difference it has made.  I'm 7 days post op on my second hip today, and can hardly wait to see how much better I feel in a few more weeks.  

Todd  LBHR, Dr. David Palmer 1/7/09; RBHR 5/6/09 St. Croix Orthopedics, Stillwater, MN


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  • LBHR 2/13/2009
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"i cannot do things that i want to do, like ride a bike.  even more so, i want to go back to kayaking and surfing.  i am only 38."

Doesn't this answer you own question?  :)


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Hi JD!

I was reading your post and thought "Gee...that sounds like the way my thinking was going..."  It took me over a year, seeing  3 drs. and not getting well rounded information from them, I was frustrated and thought that I too could just '...live with it..." 

But one day, I realized that I don't do anything that I used to enjoy doing.  I've been active in too many sports to mention, always physically active on the homefront with improvement projects, inside and out.  I've been telling myself "...I'm just getting old, 50 is right around the corner..." then I looked at what my 70+ old parents are doing, working out every day, swimming, walking, running!  And I thought to myself, that not only am I getting older - I'm falling apart, and I really want to be able to crawl around and play with my first grandchild who is due in June.   

So, those are some of the things that made me decide to move forward to find out if I'm a candidate for the resurfacing.  Either way, something is going to be done to these hips, and I for one am REALLY looking forward to it! I'll take the rehab, the discomforts that I've read from so many people on this board.  Because my quality of life is simply existing with a smile on my face, I want to get back to living, with a real smile on my face :)  !

Good luck, whatever your choice JD!


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What Ed said about the window of opportunity is so true.  I just found out that I have such a large cyst on my femoral head that resurfacing is impossible.  I didn't get good medical advice early on, and I wish I had known about this.  I was told to wait as long as I can by one doc.  Another suggested an osteotomy for my dysplasia prior to a THR.  Anyway, I just waited, and now it's too late.

If you do decide to wait, just make sure that you keep up to date on what is going on with your bone structure.  Good luck to you!



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Hi JD,
My advice from my own personal experience is to get it done sooner rather than later.  Just the fact that you're posting this question on this forum tells me something of your current condition.  I first started having pain at the age of 28.  That was 14 years ago and I was told by 4 different surgeons that I needed to find a way to manage this for as long as possible because I was only 28 and I had the hip of a 70 year old.  I did manage it very well for 12 years.  I swapped out hockey for cycling.  During the last two years, my snowboarding started to deteriorate as well.    Until finally, last February I had a free Monday morning on a powder day.  I popped 5 Aleve, hoping that they would kick in during the 20 minute drive up the canyon.  Once at the resort, I sat in the nearly empty parking lot while it was dumping outside and I realized that there was no way that I could turn my board that day no matter how many Aleve I took.  I fought back tears and drove home and immediately got on the Internet and started to research a solution.  It was that day that I realized that my hip condition had crossed the sacred line because now it was getting between me and a Utah powder day. 

Thank goodness I found this website.  During the next several months as I contemplated the surgery and did a great deal of research, I then started to realize how much I compensated for my hip in my everyday daily life.  It creeps on you slowly.  Slowly over time you find that you begin to incorporate various workarounds in order to get through common everyday situations.  It happens so slowly that you don't even notice how clever you've become at implementing workarounds because to you they're normal.  But, ask the people around you and they usually notice the slight limp, the weird way you bend down to pick things up from the floor, the complete aversion to malls, shopping or sightseeing, the difficultly getting out of a car, the reluctance to press in a clutch on a manual transmission car (left hip),  the fact that you never run, etc...

The thing is that this process happens so slowly that is can be difficult to ascertain normal from compensation due to your pain.  Your idea of 'normal' starts to become skewed.

I had surgery on August 27th last year.  I'm about 8 1/2 post-op and I could not be more pleased with the results.  I feel fantastic!  I got some great snowboarding in during March and April and I can't wait until next season!  But, even more importantly, I can function like a normal person.  I can wear high heels again.  I can go grocery shopping without a plan for minimizing my walking.  I can run up a flight in stairs.  I can do anything.  My hip feels rock solid.  I have absolutely no pain.  The only thing is that I still have some stiffness in my hip when I lunge on my operated side and fold down (like in yoga).  But, I'm pretty sure that stiffness is the result of some remaining scar tissue that needs more time to build elasticity.  I'm confident that it will resolve itself with more time.  Since my surgery, I've found that each month brings further capability. 

You'll know when it's time.  When that time comes for you, go to the very best hip resurfacing you possibly can.  This is a complex surgery and I believe that experience truly does matter.

Good Luck!  As you know, You'll find plenty of support and great information on this forum.




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I put it off for almost 8 years.  My reasons were:

It was costing me money because I could not do my job nearly as fast as I needed too.

I was pissed by the end of every day because of hip pain.

It was all I thought about all day, everyday.

It was affecting EVERY aspect of my life,  movies, hikes, bike rides, long car rides, surfing, dirt bikes, swimming, shopping, washing the car, working, walking the dog, taking a leak, whatever else you can think of was affected.  Sleeping was the only thing that didn't hurt, and most of the time I wouldn't get a good nights sleep because it hurt too much.   

Pain meds.  Eating vicodin and norcos every 4 or 5 hours can't be good for you, especially year after year.

Aside from that it wasn't so bad  ::) :D :D

I am at 7 1/2 months out and wish I did it 5 years ago.

Thats my reasons but you need to do whatever feels right for you, I don't know how miserable you are yet.

If you do decide to go for it make SURE you get an experienced re-surfacing  doctor who has done hundreds, not a thr guy who has done a few.  Just my $.02  8)


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thanks for the replies, everyone!
i do have big cysts on my femoral heads.  yikes.
i never had pain aside from knee pain until a sports accident where i tore up the abdominal muscles.  i think since that took 18 months to diagnose, the hips got much worse during that period.  so i was very, very incapacitated for 2 years, then started to get better.  but not better enough to be "normal" again.  i think that perhaps the improvement i saw after the 2 surgeries for the sports hernias made me a bit blind to where i actually am with my lack of lifestyle.
the thing that freaks me out is the fact that i am only 38.  i have already had 7 surgeries in my life.  i hate waking up after surgery (can you relate?).  i am not afraid of many months of rehab, i am used to being out of shape and dealing with lack of activity.
i realized this morning that i no longer sleep on my side due to discomfort.  and for 4+ years now i cannot sit on a hard surface.
dr su, here i come.


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My husband is 45 and had his done on 12/22/08 by Dr. Su.  He reached the point where he was tired of not being able to play ball, plus he was in constant pain.  Now he is a changed man.  He will be able to return to playing basketball, and reffing basketball, in June.  He started back to golf in March, right after his 3 month followup with Dr. Su.  He is getting his life back.  So, just like the others, the decision is totally yours, but I haven't seen any posts where someone has been sorry for going ahead with the surgery.  Good luck to you. 


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For me, it came down to the fact I was tired of the pain, and similar symptons some of the above have mentioned.

Also,I've had to change what type of job I want to do, a few times, and now I've find one htat I really enjoy, plus I've gone back to university, where the course I'm doing is 75% practical, I'll need to be very mobile for it.

Getting my surgeon to agree to doing the op, as my main problem, at 34, he said I was to young, but we've done all the pre-op stuff for it, and I'm just now counting the days down... 16 days as of this posting. :D


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Johnny D:
I am just entering my second week post op. I am naturally dealing with pain and stiffness, but without hesitation, I would do it again. I had my right knee done twice, my right shoulder, and now my left hip. I spent some tiime contemplating because I was ONLY 49. General public folks were constantly negative about replacement because "once you do that, then what". The general message was to wait as long as possible. The folks I know, know almost nothing about resurfacing. So, how did I make my decision? A couple of years ago, I went back to see my ortho doc after a very successful knee scope and follow up with Synvisc. He looked over my hip and said there was nothing more that he could do with it and to let him know when I couldn't take it anymore and/or would be ready for surgery. He was leaving that weekend to go and learn about resurfacing as he couldn't get trained in the U.S. In the two years that I waited, I was in pain most days. I walked less with my dogs. I started golfing using a cart instead of walking the course. I played and officiated less hockey. I stopped biking. I started using Benedryl to try to get some sleep.
A couple of kickers as I followed the general public sentiment to "wait as long as possible". I saw my doc a few months ago. I saw more detailed x-ray images. My hip bone was essentially square, there was significant impingement and three lovely fingers of arthritis. He told me surgery was inevitable but to wait until I was ready. Inevitability was a huge wake up call.
Second, I had quit playing hockey in mid season (January) because I couldn't sleep and couldn't take the morning after. I greatly limited my officiating, and never worked games on back to back days. My partner commented on my decreasing ability to pivot (square bone, round socket-go figure).
Ultimately, I sat down one morning, stiff and sore and asked myself, What am I doing? I was slowly but surely losing all of the activities that not only brought me joy, but were very good for my general health. And I was losing these because... I should put off surgery as long as possible???!!! And quality of life during that time.... It just became crazy in my mind (not that my mind doesn't tap into that place on a regular basis ;D) to just keep enduring day to day. For what??
So, I love golf, I love hockey. I had to make a call. I finished the hockey season (at least officiating) and set up my surgery knowing I will miss most but hopefully not all of this golf season. I'm hoping to pick up some short game in July or August and try to start playing full after that. I'm enduring moments right now, knowing the future is VERY bright. I was excited to get the surgery and excited to be done. Now, I'm just trying to keep things under raps, and measure success SLOWLY so I don't screw up the works BUT, I would do it again in a heartbeat. God bless, and good luck with your decision. At 49, active and male, resurfacing was an easy call for me. Keep reading this board. For me I received a well rounded insight here.
Take care,
May 11, 2009; Dr. Michael Tressler; Green Bay, WI


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thank you, again.
i am leaning towards resurfacing now instead of the arthroscopy i have been suggested by my first doc.


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I too have a torn labrum and my first doctor suggested that I have arthroscopic surgery to repair it.  The problem is that I had a repair done to my knee meniscus and while it helped, I have not had what I would consider to be a complete recovery.  The labrum repair is similar, and has far less dependable results.  The recovery is not much less demanding than the recovery from a resurfacing according to the information I have obtained.  Therefore, I am choosing to have my hip resurfaced June 5th which I think has a lot better chance of helping me significantly than the arthroscopy.  The doctor that is doing my resurfacing has told me that the arthritis likely caused the labrum tear and only fixing the tear is unlikely to solve much of my problem.  Your situation may be the same?


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Hello - Such a relief to me to see others with indecision on the choice of surgery.  At some points during the day I do feel okay, but I live in NYC; so I reminded of the pain everyday when I need to climb the stairs out of the subway, and then walk to my destination.  Pat, I thank you so much for creating this site and allowing all of us to learn and share.  After reading just about every post, the one common theme I see is that most of us are type A, and the pain has slowed us all down.  Ultimately, I got sick of the change of pace (too slow); so I have scheduled my surgery for June 6th with Dr. Boettner of Hospital for Special Surgery.  I am more excited than nervous because I REALLY want my old life back.  I am 41 years old and at times I can barely walk across the street while the walk signal stays green, this is not a quality of life I am willing to except.  Seven days and counting.....


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I agree, that it is a relief and so very eye-opening to read of other people's indecision times and the process of deciding on surgery.  I recognize all of the processing, all of the agonizing about getting one's body cut apart. 

It's been a very long process for me as well.  I know that a year ago, people were telling me that I should do surgery.  Of course, had I done it a year ago, it would have been THR because I had not yet learned about resurfacing.  I just kept thinking "no way, stay away from me, anything but..."  The THR surgeon I consulted told me I would be back.  He was right, because now I'm so ready...   I suppose that even if resurfacing had not been developed I would be ready now because I am so crippled.  But with resurfacing, I look forward with hope for a more "normal" younger lifestyle than that surgery would have allowed me.  I'm so grateful for this site.

I keep reading the success stories, hoping that I also will be among them.  I'm still scared at times, but I feel there really is no other choice for me.  I can only walk with 2 canes.  Do I want a wheelchair next?  No!  I want my life back.  I want to play with my children.  Years have sped by and there have been so very many things I've missed and haven't been able to do with them, or for myself. 

I have 6 weeks to go until bilateral.  I will keep reading and re-reading everyone's accounts.  It's good to know of difficulties to better prepare and of the amazing successes to fan hope.  I'm starting to talk about "when I have hips" and what I might be able to do...  :)  It's fun to smile and talk with my kids about that.  And they're excited too.  Marilyn
Grateful !  U/c with Dr. Gross
L: 07/13/09 and R: 07/15/09


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