Hip Hip Hooray!

exitseven

This My Take is an account of my total hip replacement.

I have suffered with osteo arthritis for over two years. It interfered with my sleep and after working all day sometimes I would just go home and sit with an ice pack. Towards the end I had a permanent limp and my other hip was beginning to hurt as well since I was favoring it. Finally it got to the point where I could not put any weight on it. My doctor prescribed steroids which really worked well but the downside is that they have a lot of side effects and you cannot stay on them for the long term. It was finally time to consider getting a total hip replacement.

Starring Role

The choice of surgeons is very important. You can consult your personal care physician or if you know somebody in healthcare they may have recommendations. There is lot of information online about specific surgeons as well.

Lucky for me I have a live in Physical Therapist who deals with hip replacements on a regular basis. My wife has been working with hip replacements for over 25 years. Actually, we knew this day would eventually come so she was familiar with a group of surgeons and one in particular she knew did excellent work. We booked an appointment to see him.

The pandemic had put a hold on most elective surgeries for months. I waited until I got the two dose Moderna vaccine before making an appointment to see the surgeon. I expected to have to wait several weeks or maybe more than a month. My wife was able to speak to the surgeon directly and I was booked to see him in two weeks.

Hip Hip Hooray!

This X-Ray shows a normal hip. The white outline around the hip is the cartilage which acts as a cushion in the joint. When this cartilage wears away the two bone surfaces wear against each other causing pain and inflammation. In my case, the ball part of the joint was becoming deformed. It was becoming more egg shaped and there was no cartilage around it. It was bone on bone.

When I had my initial visit, it was determined that the left hip needed to be replaced but the right hip still had some cartilage around it so the surgeon told me I was โ€œone and doneโ€.

Since my wife knew the surgeon, I was to be admitted in less than three weeks.

The Hardware

I had a friend that had this procedure done 30 years ago. He had a titanium hip. Both surfaces were made of titanium. These hips were very durable but the downside of them is that when the two metal surfaces rub against each other, minute amounts of titanium wears away and this metal gets into the body, sometimes with toxic consequences.

These early hips also were very prone to dislocation. The ball would pop out of the socket and would require painful surgery to repair it.

Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!

My surgeon explained the reason why he uses the hardware that he wanted to implant in me.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Figure 1The Stem

This artificial hip joint is designed to be used as part of a system that uses computer imaging to assure that the hip is installed at the correct angle and position. The stem part is titanium and has a special coating that once it is inside the femur it facilitates bone growth around it, making for a more stable joint.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Figure 2Ball and Socket

The ball part of the joint is made of plastic. It has been tested and it is shown it is very durable. It also will prevent metallosis . Notice there is a smaller ball and socket inserted in the larger ball. This will increase the range of motion of the joint which prevents dislocation. The surgeon informed me that he does about 14 of these surgeries a week and in the 3 years he has been using this product he has only had 2 dislocations.

Prep Work

Preparation is important. I had two weeks to prepare for this. Besides getting a lot of household chores done I needed to get ready for my convalescence.

I installed several grab bars in my shower stall and a hand sprayer. I purchased a commode and a tub seat. I was able to get a walker and I ordered a cane. I got a couple of tennis balls and cut holes in them so they would fit on the walker preventing my floors getting scratched.

There is a kit made for these kinds of surgeries. It included elastic shoelaces, a grabber, and a device that helped you put on socks.

I had been doing extra cardio at the gym and I lost about 5 pounds. Losing weight, even just 5 or 10 pounds will reduce stress on the joints.

I got a haircut and cut my toenails. I did not know when I would get down there again.

D-Day

The days went by fast and before I knew it, it was 6AM on the day of the surgery. I was to be the first of the day. I was processed and brought to the orthopedic floor. A nurse started an IV and got me changed and ready for surgery. The surgeon usually uses spinal anesthesia instead of a general anesthetic. They assured me I would not be awake during the surgery.

My wife came in and sat with me and when the surgeon came in, she spoke to him briefly with a few questions. The surgeon was very forthcoming with information during the whole process.

I was wheeled off to the operating room and the next thing I knew I was back on the orthopedic floor. A nurse assured me that everything went well. My wife sat by my side and spoke to me. I was still groggy, but I do remember the surgeon coming in and sitting at a computer and inviting my Physical Therapist wife over to see the X-rays. Even in my limited capacity I reasoned that if he was willing to show her the X-Rays, it must have come out good.

After a few hours I was wheeled into my hospital room. At about 5 PM my wife took me for a walk in the corridor. I used a walker, but I was amazed at how pain free I was. I found out later it is because during the surgery I was given large quantities of pain medication.

I was home the next day after lunch time. I had exercises I did very few hours. Mostly standing at the kitchen counter and moving the leg around.

After a few days I was using the walker to go up and down my driveway. Soon I was using it to walk to the next-door neighborโ€™s driveway.

I was sent home with Tylenol and Oxycodone. I never needed the opioids.

Within three weeks I graduated to a cane and walked twice a day in increasing distances.

Three weeks after that I retired the cane.

Eight weeks out and I began outpatient Physical Therapy. I am finishing the fourth week of Therapy and will have four more weeks.

The process has not been seamless. I have had days when I was sore and some days it was painful to walk. This is attributed mostly to me overdoing my exercises.

It will be a long rehabilitation period. Perhaps as long as a year. The surgical process is very vigorous and involves tendons and soft tissues as well as a 3-inch incision. A lot has to heal.

My new Best Friend.

Hip Hip Hooray!
Hip Hip Hooray!
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Most Helpful Girls

  • Ez-Bri-Z
    Very informative read! I am glad you definitely had resources to make your process a little smoother. I hope your recovery continues to go well!
    Is this still revelant?
    • exitseven

      thanks. It is going well but it willl not be a seamless process. I think we are lucky to have the technology to do a joint replacement. In the old days the doc would give you a bunch of pain pills and send you home. My friend that had this done 30 years ago had his pelvis shattered in a car wreck. He was in pain for many years and was becoming dependent on pain pills. He finally had the surgery. He was 42 when he had it nd was able to maintain a pretty active lifestyle. He used to teach a spin class afterwards.

    • Ez-Bri-Z

      We know a lot about pain management here. My wife has a litany of different issues including RA, fibromyalgia, PCOS and other things. There are days she can barely move from her chair and I'm just laying here groaning because of cramps. She definitely got the worst of it.

      They keep trying different things for her and at this point she is on Humira, steroids and physical therapy which gives her some normal days, but not many. My heart goes out to people like you and her who deal with that kind of pain on a daily basis. Im worried what happens if she ends up in the same boat like 10-15 years from now.

    • exitseven

      Truthfully, I am in much less pain now than I was before the surgery. I actually felt better on the second day. I am told that someday in the near future I will be pain free.

    • Show All
  • loves2learn
    Great my take! I knew you would not regret getting the replacement. You are well on your way! Congrats!
    Is this still revelant?
    • exitseven

      thanks, I appreciated all your good advice. and support.

    • Of course. I was happy to help. ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • exitseven

      ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Šthanks a lot,

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What Girls & Guys Said

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  • Massageman
    Congrats on your successful operation.

    Be steady - but not excessive - with your exercises. You are in for the long haul.

    You may go along doing your exercises for weeks, not perceiving any real changes.

    Then- out of the blue- suddenly you will make a certain, particular movement without pain! And JUST as suddenly, you realize that you haven't made that movement for the last four or five years. THAT is your "ah-ha" moment that will make the diligent exercising feel worthwhile.
    • exitseven

      You sound like you know what you are talking about. How long have you had your new friend?

    • Massageman

      Mine was only a shoulder that just required a tiny new "friend" , just a screw/hook at the top of the humerus to attach a bicep tendon- and he did some other "clean-out" work of the AC joint. But the timeline tracks are very similar regardless: the human body is rather consistent in this regard. Exam 1 week, pull stitches, see X-rays. Exam after 3 weeks, ROM check. After 6 weeks, the surgeon flies into the exam room, grabbed my sling, flings it across the room and shouts, "You won't be needing THIS anymore". I'm thinking - pul-leeeease - no pep talk, dude. Surgery was in Jan 2018. I still carry my sling in my car- JIC. I really felt healed and back to a "new norm" summer/fall of 2019, and I still wouldn't rake the leaves!

  • Daniela1982
    Holy crap! I didn't think someone your age would need a hip replacement but you have educated someone today. I hope you can do all the things you want to now as long as it isn't running a marathon or taking up being body slammed in wrestling.
    • exitseven

      Running all those marathons was probably how I got here in the first place. There were a few people in hip school that were younger than me or around 50. My friend had one at 42, He had his pelvis shattered in a car crash.
      I am doing a little better every day and I am finishing week 5 of physical therapy.
      Thanks for asking. X-7

  • scentoflavender
    It's a glimpse into something I e been told is in my future. Can't say. Even remotely looking forward to it
    • exitseven

      It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. After the first day I was already in less pain. I already have some kevlar in me as part of a hernia repair. I think of the new hip as just some more alien tech.
      The only thing is I cannot run anymore but running marathons was probably how I got here in the first place.

  • Coulis
    Congratulations! Freedom from pain and increased mobility are some of the best things in life. Happy for you!
    • exitseven

      thanks for that. It is going pretty good. I just have to be careful I do not overdo it.

  • RealMarek
    Very interesting, thanks. Have you ever broken a bone? How was the pain compared with that?
    • exitseven

      I broke my nose once. The hip pain was much worse. For a while I could not walk at all. Having the new hip really makes it a lot less painful and it should get better as time goes on.

  • SandandWaves
    Glad you got a new best friend
  • msc545
    Very good mytake - glad you did so well!
    • exitseven

      Thanks, it still a work i progress.

  • Sketti2021
    Nice
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