Author Topic: Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week  (Read 537 times)

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Anthony J

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Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week
« on: October 08, 2019, 05:52:39 PM »
Hello All,

I have canceled having THR locally to having Dr. Gross resurface both.  I've changed from left hip on 1/29, and right on 3/10, to now 1/29 and 1/31. My reason for this is that I can condense the recovery period and get back to being active a little sooner.  I'm sure that the recovery may be a little more difficult, but I like the idea of getting through it sooner.  I wonder if anyone who has had bilateral in the same week/day, would do it any differently after going through it.  I've been very active up until now, and am able to bike and swim a few times a week.  I'm trying to keep the old muscles from getting too weak in order to hopefully have a speedy recovery.  I stopped running in June, but am very encouraged with those that have returned to running, and even a Boston qualifier out there! Any insight into having  both HR the same week would be greatly appreciated.  Fortunately I can work from home, and my wife has agreed to be my dedicated driver for 6 weeks. 


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Re: Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2019, 08:30:22 AM »
Do it!

Dr Gross replaced my hips four years ago within a two day period, just as you are planning. I have no regrets and highly recommend just getting it over with for the same reason you give: one recovery.

The first week was tough. Not because I was in pain or in extra discomfort, but because I was weak and had difficulty moving on my own. My red blood count went way down, close to the transfusion line but not crossing it, and I didn't have a good leg to stand on. On crutches (and needing them) I didn't have a free hand to carry things. 

But this was all foreseeable and so we took steps to manage the situation. H stayed home for three weeks, with younger son tagging him out when he had to go to work again, so someone was around to help me. NOT 24/7. I didn't need that. But I needed help with driving and picking things up off the floor. Also needed a "lifeguard" for showering and peeing in the middle of the night the first few weeks. (With no good leg, I was more of a fall risk.)

Other helpful hints: get a bag to sling around your neck so you can move from place to place while you are on crutches. You can put your meds, your phone, your laptop, your book, your water bottle in it and crutch from place to place in the house. Move things up higher so you can reach them without breaking 90 degrees. Brainstorm the 90 degree rule in as many ways as necessary---if you have pets, how will you feed them?  Think about clothing, food, and toiletries you frequently need/use. Pick up the floor of the house so you won't trip on anything. I created a list of people to call if I fell when no one was home---my "I've fallen and I can''t get up" list. I didn't use it, but friends were happy to be on it, and it allowed H and son to go out and not be stuck at home with me every minute.

Everyone is different, but I felt pretty good by the end of the first week. I would stand up and start to move, forgetting my crutches. Okay, so I only walked about five feet, but to be able to do that in a week was pretty astonishing. In retrospect, exhaustion played a role the first week. I was physically and mentally worn out. As I regained my strength through rest and good nutrition, my ability to move, to think, and to plan all came rushing back.

Best of luck. You sound like you are in better shape than I was if you just stopped running.  I wish you an easy and event free recovery.


Anthony J

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Re: Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2019, 03:40:29 PM »
Thank you for your insight! I will post my story after the surgery.  It will give me something to do while recovering!

Bilateral Hippy

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Re: Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2019, 07:49:08 PM »
I had bilateral HR on September 11, 2018 in Calgary, AB with Dr James MacKenzie.  I was 51 at the time, pretty active, I mountain bike, ski, golf and climb.  Those activities were pretty much absent by the time I had my surgery, I could still golf with a cart, ride my mountain bike, albeit poorly and I started to swim a lot.    I now realize my hips were probably failing me for longer than I thought.  Enough about me.  Here is what I learned by having two done at once. I hope it helps you.

You are correct about the recovery time, having it done all at once is much better.  I had the surgery on a Tuesday afternoon and left the hospital on Thursday afternoon. They told me to expect up to 5 days.   The downside is the first couple weeks are pretty rough.  Dr MacKenzie was very frank with me about that.  Both sides hurt, sleeping is a real pain in the butt literally. Have your own room with a nice bed, I stayed in our guest room with a queen bed for a month.  I can't say I had a lot of pain, I was off my pain meds in 5 days and just on Advil and ASA after that.  It's getting comfortable that's hard.  I know that sounds weird but that is how I would explain it, both sides are uncomfortable and it's just plain hard to remedy that.  Plan to spend the first month close to your bed or at least your house.   It is a big surgery and your body is doing a lot of healing.  I used crutches for the first two weeks, some people use a walker but I didn't like it, personal preference I'm sure.  I moved to one crutch after that and I would say was walking without any by three weeks.  Listen to your surgeon and their staff they have seen a lot and know their stuff. They may have a different protocol, but follow it.   Riding in a car for the first 6 weeks was uncomfortable. 

Other than the recovery time being combined, I think the other main advantage to getting two done at once is that you learn to walk correctly because you are not protecting your new hip with a bad hip, and you're not protecting your bad hip with the new hip.  Does that make sense?  Your rehab is being done correctly on both sides and you are learning to walk again correctly right out of the gate.  Dr. MacKenzie told me to walk, walk, walk.  My physio taught me how to correctly walk with crutches and I started on day 2 (Wednesday) walking around the ward and once I got home I started to walk around my house, moved on to around the block about day 4.  I was walking about 1km a day in a week, but really listen to YOUR body and it will let you know when you over do it.  Trust me, you will overdo it.  There were days in week three where I could only do maybe 500m, but just use common sense.  You will have some great days and think it's all good and then have a rough day and think oh no, I just totally screwed up my new hips.  From what I have read here and else where that is pretty common with even having just one hip done. 

I bought an Ossur Cold Rush machine for the swelling on the advice of Dr. MacKenzie's head nurse (amazing lady by the way).  It was great advice.  I used that machine a lot the first 6 weeks.  There will be swelling, think probably twice as much swelling as for a single hip.  I wear about a 30 pant, and my butt was huge for two weeks!   You can probably rent them, maybe even borrow one from a friend.  I would highly recommend it. 

Last thing about having two done that never crossed my mind and I haven't read anyone really talk about but it happened to me.  Your hips might heal at different rates or feel different.  It really messes with you, or at least it did me.  My left one would feel really bad but my right would feel great and I would be freaking out that something was wrong with it. I know it sounds stupid and it really is common sense, but when it's happening it can mess with you. Two hips done at almost exactly the same time will feel totally different at times.  It's logical I know, but when it's happening on week 4 at midnight it doesn't seem too logical.    Anyhow, you might have a different experience, but be prepared. 

Good luck, I think you have made the right decision!  BHR has given me back my active life and today a bit more than a year out I am completely happy with my two new hips.  I am climbing again, biking, golfing everything! It's amazing.  If you have any other questions about the bilateral HR feel free to ask. 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2019, 09:27:38 PM by Bilateral Hippy »

Anthony J

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Re: Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2019, 08:37:09 PM »
Great information, thank you for sharing your experience!


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Re: Recovery from bilateral HR in the same week
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2019, 06:59:02 PM »
Hi Anthony,

I am a Dr. Gross bilateral. Had my procedures done in December, 2016. I was extremely happy with my choice to do both hips in the same week. I have never regretted my decision. If you have any specific questions about my experience, please ask. Good luck!
Bilateral patient
Dr. Gross
December 12, 14 2016
Biomet (uncemented)


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