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Author Topic: Now I Know Nickel Allergy to my BHRs - On The Path To Healing  (Read 200648 times)

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Two4One

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Now I Know Nickel Allergy to my BHRs - On The Path To Healing
« on: November 26, 2011, 04:19:58 PM »
 ???I've been in agony for over 2 and a half years and now, Thank God, I finally found surgeons willing to give me new hips.  It's Dr. Philip Schmitt vs Dr. Thomas Gross, and I would love to hear everyones' opinion. Surfacehippy is a terrific site, and I have been learning so much here!

In 2009, after failed bilateral arthroscopies, a dozen local midwest surgeons that I visited said my hip X Rays were normal or just mild arthritis.  Dr. Sampson and Dr. Kelly, on the other hand, looked at my films and said I was ready for implants or resurfacing.  I was so confused and scared.  Then I saw Dr. Philippon last month, after a year waiting list and 2 trips to Vail, where he finally turned me down for arthroscopy surgery and said my hips had degenerated over the last 3 months and needed resurfacing.

That brings me to setting a surgical date for bilateral resurfacing with Dr. Schmitt, Commerce, MI - a few hours drive from where I live.  Dr. Schmitt was terrific, and husband and I really liked him.  The only reason I'm still in comparison mode at all with Dr. Gross is that "Dr. Detroit" has done 950 resurfacings vs. Gross' 2500+.  Dr. Schmitt answered my long list of questions, because like most of you, I had time to educate myself during 2 years of being housebound.  Other than the number of surgeries, I am pleasantly surprised and nearly sold on Schmitt as my surgeon.  I set a bilateral surgery date with him on December 20th, which beats the pants off Gross' end of March surgical availability. 

My problem is my pain is very bad and barely controlled with Hydromorphine and getting worse really fast; I don't think I can hold out until the end of March for Gross or tolerate another plane trip.  Also, my husband loses his job in March and insurance will be gone a couple months after that, so it'd be really taking a chance financially to use Gross.

Can anyone out there reassure me that I have a great chance at getting well with using a surgeon who's only done 950 resurfacings?  I could really use some reassurance here, and thanks for your replies.

Sorry my post is so long.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2014, 01:14:43 PM by Two4One »
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

Pat Walter

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 04:54:05 PM »
Hi

I have stories from a handful of Dr. Schmitt patients on the website and they seem to have done well.  950 resurfacings is quite a few.  Not as many as 2500, but if you are in pain and need surgery and don't want to travel far, I think Dr. Schmitt would be a good solution.  If you feel comfortable with him, then I would go ahead with your surgery.  I always have to also remind people, that even though I suggest the very top surgeons, there are also many that are experienced and have good outcomes.  Even with the new surgeons, the retention rate is 96%, so only 4 out of 100 will have problems.  Even that is not a bad statistic, but why take a chance when more experienced surgoens are available. 

I would go with the surgeon you feel comfortable with and one that can take care of you quickly if you are in pain.  Also there is the difference between the BHR and the cementless Biomet.  I think Dr. Gross has great outcomes with the Biomet, but the BHR has a great track record too.  So I would sit down and think it out - if you feel good with Schmitt and need your hip done sooner, choose that option.

Good Luck.

Pat
Webmaster/Owner of Surface Hippy
3/15/06 LBHR De Smet

Two4One

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 05:21:06 PM »
Thank you so much for an informative unbiased reply.  All the give and take here on the site has given me so much encouragement and hope.

Dr. Schmitt gave me a rundown of all his stats and retention rates, complications, etc., and that really helped.  Reading other hippies' success stories with surgeons who have even smaller numbers eases my mind somewhat too.  I am at the end of the line, so I need to get this done and start working on healing.  I'm trying not to be consumed with worry.

I am going to keep reading, and I would love to hear from those of you who are happy with their surgeons who don't happen to be the tippy top guys with thousands of hip resurfacings under their belt.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 05:25:29 PM by Two4One »
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

DGossack

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 06:11:26 PM »
I also had a choice between two surgeons.  One had about 650 and the other 2250.  In my case there was no delay to schedule with either surgeon.  And both surgeons were relatively close.  So I ultimately chose the one with more experience.  Also the hospital where my surgeon works had a wing set up specifically for these types of surgeries.

Based on your brief description I would choose the local guy that has almost 1000 resurfacings.

Best wishes.

Dan
LBHR, Dr. Pritchett, 8/1/2011
fullmetalhip.wordpress.com

obxpelican

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 07:28:11 PM »
950 is a pretty good number of surgeries, I've never read anything negative about him, I would go with Dr. Schmitt given the parameters that you've given us.


Good luck, keep us in the loop whoever you end up going to.


Chuck
Chuck
RH/Biomet U/C Dr. Gross/Lee Webb
8-6-08

Woodstock Hippy

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 07:58:27 PM »
Most of the doctors agree that it takes between 100 and 150 surgeries to get it down.  I wouldn't say that Dr Schmitt is lacking anything in experience.

I just had the same choice between the famous doctor in town and Dr Scott Marwin who has done about the same number as Dr Schmitt. I met with Dr Marwin, liked him, liked his confidence and about a week later I made the appointment for Bilaterals on 11/15.  Eight days later I walked out of the Rusk Rehab Hospital in NYC on 1 cane and feeling no pain.
Bilateral, Dr Scott Marwin, NYU Joint Disease Hosp, 11/15/11

Two4One

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2011, 09:04:44 PM »
Wow!  This is exactly what I needed to hear.

DGossak- Thanks for sharing your experiences and giving me your 'two cents worth'.

Obyxpelican - I feel a lot better about my choice knowing that 950  is a good number of surgeries performed.

Woodstock Hippy - You had access to some of the best in NY; it means a lot to me knowing you were very happy with your choice of the lower profile surgeon.

These responses are very, very much appreciated and just what I was hoping for when I made my first post here at Surfacehippy.
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

maxx6789

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2011, 09:35:44 PM »
to add my 2 cents ... 950 is a lot!! i went with a surgeon with "only" 300 and my results (so far, 10 weeks) have been great. and a word about waiting ... i considered waiting 3+ months to have the surgery in order for insurance to cover more but decided that sooner was better. that turned out for me to be a great decision!!

only you need to feel comfortable with your decision ... deep inside you probably already know the answer for you.
Left BHR Della Valle, Sept 14, 2011
Right BHR Della Valle, April 4, 2012

rbt2011

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #8 on: November 26, 2011, 10:23:08 PM »
Two4One:

Hey, What do you know, I am having surgery on Tuesday with Dr. Schmitt.  I chose him for several reasons:

1. I chose to have the BHR device installed as it has the best long term clinical success rates.  It was what I felt most comfortable with.  Schmitt does only BHR, is listed on the Smith and Nephew site as one of their most experienced doctors, and he trained on the surgical technique in Birmingham, England Mr. Treacy (one of the inventors of the BHR device and father of modern day resurfacings). 

2. Schmitt IS experienced.  To me, 950 is a LOT of surgeries and hip resurfacings is the only thing that he does.  He doesn't do knees and shoulders, and hips.  He does hip resurfacings. That's it.  That is the guy I want.

3. I like the anterior approach he takes.  He explained it to me and I am very comfortable with this.  It seems that historically folks seem to have a quick recovery on this approach and that is important to me.

4. He is super accesible and seems to genuinely care.  I met with him 3 times in person and talked to him 2 additional times over the phone (I am a bit of a control freak).  He was very gracious and took the time to answer all my questions.  Believe me, some of my questions were stupid, too.  My thought process is that IF I did have some problem or issue, he would be there to help me.  I wouldn't have to drive hours just to get into see him.

5. He is covered by my insurance and had only a 6 week waiting list.  This is probably not the best reason to pick a surgeon but I too am getting pretty bad and can't wait until March.

So, hopefully my thoughts help to ease your mind if you do decide to pick Schmitt.  If not, and you decide to wait, there are a TON of folks here that have fantastic outcomes and great success stories with Dr. Gross.  He is probably one of the best in the world so either way you go, you are in good hands.

Best of luck to you.  Take Care.
Right side BHR 11/29/2011

MGM

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #9 on: November 26, 2011, 11:30:56 PM »
I'm scheduled for RBHR with Dr. Schmitt this Monday, 11/28. I live locally to Dr. Schmitt's practice, but I was prepared to travel if necessary. Like you and others on this site, I did my due diligence and am confident going into this surgery that I've made the right decision. Now that I'm two days pre-op, I honestly can't imagine adding airports and a plane trip to this ordeal given that I'm nervous enough and in significant pain. Nor would I add another four months of low quality of life and possible insurance problems to the mix as in your case.

Another advantage of being local is that I've spoken to several people who are patients of Dr. Schmitt or have family members/friends that have been resurfaced by him. All reports have been very positive. I think the most reassuring account came from a hospital tech during one of my pre-op testing procedures. Her sister had had a successful BHR by Dr. Schmitt, but how she became aware of resurfacing and Dr. Schmitt was remarkable. During her consult with a very well known, top THR surgeon at a competitor hospital in our area, the surgeon removed his physician's ID badge and told her he was speaking as a layman. He explained how she was a likely candidate for BHR and referred her to Dr. Schmitt to learn more about the resurfacing option. 

At that point, I already was on Dr. Schmitt's surgical schedule, but hearing that ringing endorsement has helped ease some pre-op anxiety.

R-BHR, 11/28/11 -- Dr. Schmitt

Two4One

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 02:48:24 PM »
Maxx6789  - You are so right about not waiting an extra 3 months, and you make some really good points.  I think it would be way too chancy to do surgery at the tail end of our health insurance expiration.
 
After reading Surfacehippy even more, it seems that when your arthritis starts getting noticeably more painful the pain speeds up and crashes in like a speeding freight train.  In just a 3 month span between seeing Philippon for revision arthroscopy, my chances went from 70% to less than 5%!  My pain is getting worse even this week, and last night I could not sleep at all because of it.

Rbt2011 -  I'm so excited for you getting your surgery in just 2 days, and it's so cool you have Schmitt as your doctor too!  I was impressed when I met him, and the fact he trained with Treacy is icing on the cake.  It's quite reassuring too learning that 950 resurfacings means that Dr. Schmitt is really experienced and will do excellent work.  Nothing is more important to than to have a highly skilled surgeon that is personally invested in your successful outcome.  I can't wait to hear a lot more about your experiences next week and how you're doing!

MGM – Wow!  It's great to see yet another Schmitt hippy getting surgery this week.  The thought of a grueling plane trip, hotels, etc., and 4 more months of being bedridden is just too much for me too. Who knows how bad my arthrits will be when the 20th rolls around? Your story and inside scoop is remarkable, and now I feel Dr. Schmitt is totally the right choice for me. 

Sometimes you feel all alone and like you are practically the only one in the world getting hip resurfacing, especially when all you hear about is THR.  Now, I feel like I'm a member of my own Schmitt Tribe!

I am so glad that I asked for help in deciding between 2 surgeons and reassurance from Surfacehippy, because Boy did I get it!  This site is the best.

« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 02:51:13 PM by Two4One »
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

Two4One

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And Away We Go! Day 1 - YaY!
« Reply #11 on: December 21, 2011, 01:50:29 AM »
I had my bilateral hip surgery this morning at 7am, and I feel great.  Amazingly, it's just like those positive hip resurfacing reviews you read online and here at Surface Hippy.  My stabbing arthritis pain emanating from deep in the joint is gone, and the only pain I have is recovery pain from the surgery incision, and that's even getting better with each passing hour.  I napped a lot today, but I did fine with visitors - that's something I couldn't tolerate yesterday! 

It turns out my first steps and PT will commence tomorrow at 6am, and I get my catheter out then(which I don't even feel).  Day 2 will be me, determined to 'enjoy' my PT.  Forgive me for sounding like a motivational speaker but I've been faithfully listening to the download "Before, During, and After Your Surgery", and I think it's embedded in my brain like one of those cheesy songs you can't get our of your head!

I've requested to do aggressive PT with an extended ortho stay in a specialized facility, and I'm looking forward to testing my mettle once the spinal block and epidural wear off.  I'm doing Christmas with the PTs, and everyone knows they like to party!

I am appreciating the terrific support and suggestions from everyone here.  I am truly thankful.  For my fellow 'Schmittians', for everyone on the board, and for everyone who has their surgery still ahead of them, I am rooting for you!  Goodnight, John Boy:)
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

Woodstock Hippy

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Re: Torn between 2 surgeons
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2011, 01:06:23 PM »
I'm glad you are felling well, and believe me
, it just keeps getting better.  Also glad that you are "staying in" for Christmas with the PT's.  Don't work too hard, ease into it and most of all Merry Christmas!


I was reading through this thread and I came to this;
"Woodstock Hippy - You had access to some of the best in NY; it means a lot to me knowing you were very happy with your choice of the lower profile surgeon."

At this point, four and a half weeks out with Bilaterals, having never had any real pain, being able to walk over an hour with no issues, riding a tri-bike with a low front end with nice smooth motion and my cadence around 85 on the trainer, doing great pool workouts, I feel like I did go to the best HR surgeon in NYC.
Bilateral, Dr Scott Marwin, NYU Joint Disease Hosp, 11/15/11

Two4One

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log Day 2
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2011, 02:50:31 PM »
The first night wasn't too bad; the nursing staff kept me medicated and comfortable.  I did spike a fever to 103 during the night, but it's normal now.  I'll also be receiving a blood transfusion today to make up for my low hemoglobin.  Apparently, you tend to lose blood more with a longer bilateral resurfacing surgery, and I won't able to walk or do my PT until after the transfusion.

I was able to move around a bit in my bed by using the trapeze like assistance bar that hangs from the ceiling.  The food has been really yummy and my private room is large and very nice. With ice and more ice kept on my hips, I'm fairly comfortable and ready to see what the rest of the day brings.
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

hernanu

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log
« Reply #14 on: December 21, 2011, 03:00:17 PM »
Really glad to hear how you're doing. The progress won't be linear, but will be continual, so good luck and enjoy that PT.
Hernan, LHR 8/24/2010, RHR 11/29/2010 - Cormet, Dr. Snyder

Luanna

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log
« Reply #15 on: December 21, 2011, 03:26:31 PM »
You'll probably feel a lot more energetic after you have a blood transfusion. Ready to rock n roll and travel the hospital hallways in style! Hang in there.

Best,
Luanna
RHR 8/30/2011 - Dr. Pritchett - Stryker Trident Shell /X3 Poly liner acetabular cup. BHR head.

Two4One

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log Day 2
« Reply #16 on: December 21, 2011, 11:45:21 PM »
I had a good day today and was able to get out of bed twice, granted I was using a walker and assisted by hospital staff, but still all in all my recovery is moving right along!  I'm getting more movement like bending at the knees and shimmying myself around to get more comfortable.

It was especially nice when a former Schmitt patient visited me with a little care package, and it was great to see her walk pain free about the room.  You'd never know she's a bilateral Schmitt Hippy.  My recovery is moving right along and everyone at DMC Huron Valley - Sinai Hospital has been terrific.
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

mslendzion

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2011, 12:05:31 AM »
Glad to hear your were up and at it today.  I hope you have a good night.   When I went in for my pre surgical clearance, which is at a different hosptial than that of Dr. Schmitt, my doctor told me that Dr. Schmitt was a good surgeon, the first to do a BHR in the States.  He said his hospital was trying to recruit him.  That all sounded pretty good to me.  I read also that he specializes in BHR in women, more good news.  Keep up the recovery.  My thoughts are with you!
Left BHR 1/9/12 Dr. Schmitt

Two4One

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log Day 3
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2011, 02:11:21 PM »
Nauseous.  I'm going through withdrawal because the Dilaudid pump doses are so small compared to the amount of Dilaudid I was taking pre op, and you're supposed to push the button every 8 minutes.  The irony is I'm forgetting to use the pump; the recovery pain is so much of an improvement over the OA pain I had before my resurfacing. 

Otherwise, I am getting more movement, strength, etc.  I've already been out of bed 5 times yesterday and also finished walking to the bathroom for the first time! 

I'm using a walker to get around.  There is a foot aid that I use to swing my legs over the bed by gradual degrees, and I'm able to go up on my elbows and then my hands to pivot my body around in line with my legs.  This is the technique PT showed me to avoid  using the banned motion of twisting at the waist.  I walked all the way into the bathroom again this morning and was even able to stand all by myself to wash my hands at the sink.

My incision bandages are off, and my post op pain (around a 4 on the scale of 1 -10 before a Demerol injection) is even less this morning.  At this rate, in 2 weeks I won't have ANY incision pain, and I see myself doing a lot of walking on my perfectly healing, pain free hips.  My breakfast of Bacon, Vanilla yogurt, a fresh orange, and a Banana Nut Muffin washed down by a glass of skim milk is helping my successful recovery.

How are you fellow surface hippys doing?  How are your hips holding up?  What's going on with my fellow Schmitt (Schmittians?) Hippies?
« Last Edit: December 22, 2011, 02:38:10 PM by Two4One »
"I was inspired by the very idea of turning the wildest figments of your imagination into something real and creating a life for yourself." - Ken Ilgunas

12/11 Failed Bilateral BHR by Dr. Schmitt  3/14 Positive Metal LTT for Nickel Allergy.   11/14 Bilat Ceramic/Titanium Revisions.

hernanu

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Re: And Away We Go! Bilateral Recovery Log Day 3
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2011, 02:29:24 PM »
Sorry about the nausea, I think we all have different reactions to the happy drugs.

For some reason, the first time I had vicious attacks of the hiccups any time I had ginger ale. Everyone thought it was a hoot, except they lasted for a couple of hours each time (I am unusually stubborn and lacking in long term memory). They finally went away after a couple of days; I decided to blame my mother, since she sometimes gets the hiccups. Did not happen the second time around, maybe because I stayed with water.

It all sounds good, 2for1, the walking, standing by yourself are all good signs. Keep ahead of the pain, it's one of the ways to progress.

Hernan, LHR 8/24/2010, RHR 11/29/2010 - Cormet, Dr. Snyder

 

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