Author Topic: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?  (Read 4571 times)

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Funky Chicken

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Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« on: May 05, 2008, 08:26:13 PM »
Hello everybody,

I was surfing the net looking for experiences similar to mine and just found this site :)
I'm 38 and I have just had both hips resurfaced (I am 6 days post the second op, the first was done 13 days ago).  I am worried that the flexion contractures I had pre-operatively will stay, as when I try to lie flat on my back, it quickly becomes very painful in the groin.  Should I be panicking, or is this something that will gradually improve with physiotherapy and stretches?  I absolutely am unable to sleep at the moment without something elevating my knees.

Also, I have really discovered how uncomfortable my bed is (it's pretty old!).  Does anyone have any mattress type recommendations?  I keep hearing about latex variations but I don't want to spend several thousand dollars and end up with the wrong thing.

I would be extremely grateful for any help with these issues!

Thanks in advance,


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Re: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2008, 01:33:44 AM »
Hi Catherine,
I too had "staged bilateral" but mine were 5 weeks apart. With the greater time between surgeries, it's been interesting to see how different the healing is. I had no problem with hip flexion after the first surgery. After the second surgery, that was my biggest muscle-related issue. I could not lay comfortably for a couple weeks. Even now, after 5 weeks, if I've had my legs bent, sleeping on side, when I go to my back, I usually have to try a couple times to gradually get comfortable with straight legs. It did get better after the 2-3 week mark. And there was a fine line between the PT exercises (leg lifts) and straining the hip flexors. The good news is that it's getting better and better. I hope you have the same experience.
Regarding the mattress, I've heard some people recommend those memory foam mattress toppers. In my experience, sleep was one of the biggest challenges post-op. I'd be in bed for 10 hr, but with all the tossing and turning, maybe get only 6 hr sleep - at least that's the way it seemed. But this too gets better, little by little.
Good luck.
Bilateral 02/08, 03/08, Dr. Ball

Pat Walter

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Re: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2008, 08:36:31 AM »
Hi Catherine

It will take your body a long time to heal.  It has been compensating for bad hips for a long time and it will take a long time to correct itself.

I would just concentrate on  your simple exercises and not worry at this point.  You are very early in your recovery.

I put about 4 large pillows under my legs when I was in bed. That is what they did for me when I was in Belgium.  They were big fluffy pillows and that seemed to help the back too.  I also spent a lot of time in my recliner chair one I got home after 10 days post op.  I only had one hip done, so it was easier for me.  For some reason the recliner chair feels better.  I use a foam topper for my mattress also.  That just feels better on my old bones.

Dr. De Smet says - toes above nose - which means you need the pillows to elevate your legs.  Even now I don't feel comfortable sleeping flat and I am 2 years post op.  I have back problems.  So get yourself pillows for your legs.

I was able to sleep on my unoperated side with a pillow between my legs about 6 days post op.  Some people have been able to sleep on the operated side - I could not. 

Sleep is always difficult after surgery.  I took heprin shots for 14 days - once I stopped them I slept better.  Some people take some sleeping pills. That might help for awhile.  Meanwhile, take a lot of naps in a recliner chair.  I slept in mine much of the night early on.

Know this - it will get better and better.  Give it time.  Patience is your friend.  By this summer, all of this will just seem a dream.  It fades as you get better and better.  It will happen.

Good Luck and stay in touch.

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


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Re: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2008, 11:52:42 AM »
I have had my hip resurfaced 21 days ago.  I had experienced similar tightness in the pelvic area while laying flat.  It has been gradually getting better.  I try to stretch it out by laying flat for and extended period of time while enduring the pain.  Over the week it has been gradually getting better. 

I have a select comfort bed.  It is great.  Has the ability to adjust the firmness as well as I have the adjustable feature which allows me to raise and lower my head or feet.  You might be able to get aid with your insureance company for this bed.  It is approved by the FDA for orthodics.    Good luck... I started walking a mile a day the second week after my surgery.  Without aid of cruches, so I am pleased with the proceedure thus far.... still have pain in the posterior, but that is to be expected due to the tramma of surgery. 

Funky Chicken

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Re: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2008, 08:12:35 PM »
Thank you everybody for your kind and helpful replies!  I guess the consensus really is not to panic, but do stretches as I feel capable, and for sleeping, at this point the main thing is to be comfortable enough to do so.  My husband rushed out and bought a thick woollen mattress topper yesterday, and last night was easier than the night before so that's something (cash flow is an issue at the moment but later on we'll be able to buy a new mattress of the right sort)...  Today I've decided to do 10 minute periods of lying flat at intervals, and I am doing some extension exercises as part of my physio anyway.  Also when I see the physios next Tuesday I hope they will come up with some other suggestions (the surgeon has already suggested half hour periods of lying on my front, but I will only start that once I am confident I can move myself about that much as my husband has had to go back to work now!).

I suppose I worry about retaining the flexion contractures because a) I want everything to be perfect! and b) in my teens I first developed lower back problems and I now realise that was when the contractures were forming, and they caused my posture to change, hence causing muscle spasm in the lower back.  I'd like to get back "normal" posture, but as Pat said, it's not going to happen overnight if I've been compensating for rotten hips for most of my life!

At least every new day I can see and feel a palpable difference in my mobility.  It was really challenging having both hips done 1 week apart but my surgeon says that if it can be done that way, the rehab gets the most out of both new hips.  He says that if you get one done and you still have a bad other hip, you can't get the most out of the new one due to the restrictions of the other one that hasn't been resurfaced yet.  But it was still VERY scary going in the second time (I found out afterwards from his PA that a lot of people run (well, limp) for the hills and postpone the 2nd surgery!).  It also sounds like from reading this site that my hips were a lot worse than a lot of US surgeons would tackle - I had bone cysts galore - but on the really bad side, Roger grafted some bone from the acetabulum to help with fixation of the head component.

By the way, I was surprised to see that my surgeon, Dr Roger Oakeshott (Sportsmed SA, South Australia) isn't on your list here - he practically pioneered the resurfacing procedure here in Australia and has a fantastic reputation.  He also was part of the team that developed the computer software that apparently can get the implant alignment within half a degree of the original.  I am certain he has done more than a few hundred resurfacings, and he has an excellent reputation here in Australia.  So I think it would be worth checking him out!

Thanks for the helpful hints,

Funky Chicken

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Re: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2008, 08:17:59 PM »
Just a quickie to add that I see that in a lot of other places people use walkers or crutches even after going home from their surgeries...  Here I was sent home mobilizing with 2 walking sticks!  Just interesting how things are done differently in different places.  What I would like is some kind of way of attaching my sticks and my Dalek claw (pickupstick thing) to myself so that I'm not forever dropping one or other of them!



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Re: Inability to lie flat after hip resurfacing op?
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 10:53:21 PM »

I am just 5 months out of a simultaneous bilateral BHR and can relate exactly to how you feel when trying to sleep on your back.For me my sleeping was done in the comfort of a recliner chair for the first 3 weeks, until the incisions healed enough to relax in bed and to be able to roll onto my side.That recliner chair (lazy-boy) was without doubt the thing I could have not done without, as it adjusted to the contour of my back and gave support in all the right places without creating pressure points.
As soon  as the incisions had  healed I started swimming on a daily basis and found this to be the absolute best form of rehab.
Your ability to lie on your back will return.Even now I find it most comfortable when on my back to have my knees slightly raised.
I am well and truly back to all my old activities,swimming,diving,hiking and couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.
Hang in there, things will rapidly get better and all being well you won't have to go back and get the "other" hip done!!
Like you I'm "down under"  also, but in NZ.




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