I fractured my right hip in a cycling accident in October 2017 (age 26). Three screws were put in to hold the femoral neck together. The surgeon gave me some warnings at the time: (1) He preferred the ORIF to a THR because he felt it was likely I’d need more work later in life, so wanted to preserve as much bone as possible, even though it would be a more difficult recovery up-front. (2) A majority of fractures like mine eventually lead to arthritis.
After a very slow recovery I was back to running 6 months after the accident. I even set a personal record for a 5k race in late 2018, which I was quite proud of, as I was never a runner until starting Couch to 5K about 6 months before the accident.
Around February of 2019, I started developing some very weird muscle pains in the right side which turned into a severe limp over the course of a few days. Went to the ER because I was paranoid about something being messed up in the hardware. It seemed unlikely 1+ year out, but I had ruled out more obvious things like over-exercising. The ER noted that the hardware looked fine but saw some evidence of avascular necrosis on the femoral head. I was able to see the surgeon in clinic that same week and he ordered an MRI to confirm it.
Four months later (long, unimportant story about hospital bureaucracy and insurance requirements in the USA) I had conclusive results: yes, it was avascular necrosis of the hip. It was unsurprising, but disappointing that it happened so soon. At that point the surgeon told me he had done all he could do, as he was a trauma specialist, and he would refer me to a hip specialist.
In the intervening four months I asked around and through some friend-of-friend-of-acquaintance connections, three people independently suggested Dr. Su at HSS. Seeing as I live in NYC it was a no-brainer. I had my first meeting with him in September of 2019. Dr. Su reviewed my case and explained that resurfacing (which I had never heard of) was my best option due to my age and activity level.
At the time, his opinion was that surgery would likely be necessary within 1-2 years. He also referred me for a cortisone injection, in an effort to delay the surgery and restore some hip function. It worked…for four days. Four beautiful, pain-free days, in which my limp disappeared, and I could feel my leg moving back to a normal position.
Faced with that outcome, in January 2020 he recommended surgery as the best option. It was originally booked for April, then something happened which upended life and medical care in NYC, and I finally had the surgery on June 26 of this year.
I originally posted here at about the 2-week mark. At the time I was blown away by the difference in the feeling in the hip. I was told that one of the first things patients notice is the total absence of arthritic pain and bone-on-bone sensation. I experienced that myself after a couple of days (once the general surgical pain and soreness subsided), and I severely underestimated how dramatic that would be.
During the surgery, Dr. Su removed the screws, so I was discharged with a restriction of partial weight bearing on my right side until my 6-week followup, to allow the bone to heal. At that time I was moved to weight bearing as tolerated.
It’s now 8 weeks after surgery. I’m still blown away by being pain-free in the joint. I’m getting around with one crutch most of the time and have experimented a little with no crutches (as I think every patient does . It’s easier and easier every day. This has been an absolutely life-changing experience and I have no doubt that it was the right decision.
I’d also like to take a moment to praise HSS in general. Everyone I’ve interacted with, from premier surgeons to PAs to nurses to technicians to administrative staff, has been extremely thorough and professional. I’d highly recommend Dr. Su if HSS is an option.