My fiance had degenerative arthritis in his left hip. The V.A. postponed his hip replacement for so long that on Dec. 18, 2005 he went to the E.R. by ambulance in severe pain. The replacement had been delayed for so long that he had developed numerous infections, ie: Staph, Sepsis, Osteomyelitis and Cellulitis. He nearly died from these infections. The doctors had to insert tubes into his thigh to begin draining the infection before they even thought about any kind of surgery. On December 29th the Surgeons came in and told us that they would do the surgery on Dec. 31st. They told us that because the infection had been so bad they would not be able to put in a replacement. Possibly in 3-10 years a replacement might be considered if he remained infection free. But even after that, he would run the risk of infection when the replacement was done. There is no physical therapy for him since there is no bone at all. I'd like to know if there is anyone else out there who has had this type of surgery and what their progress has been!
Hi LilBitVal - I am currently at home after getting a new hip on March 16th. Originally I broke my right hip due to osteoporosis (thinning of the bones) and the surgeon put in a hip replacement in June of 2005. I came home and within 2 weeks my femur on the same side broke causing the new hip to "fall" down into the space with the femur. I had to go back to the hospital where they wired my femur bone and re-did my hip surgery. I came home and within 4 weeks I had developed a massive infection known as MRSA. It is a staph germ that is resistant to lots of drugs and it loves to hide in places where implants have been inserted. Well, by the time I got back to the hospital it had spread throughout my entire body and the docs had to remove my hip once again. I was fitted with a central line in my chest and received Vancomycin (a very strong anti-biotic) for the entire month of August while in the hospital. When they released me in early September, they sent me home with the cathetar still in and I took the infusion of Vancomycin for another 3 months to make sure it had cleared up. All in all I waited 7 months before I could get the docs to try again with a re-implant. I lived without a hip which isn't too hard to do with a little creative thinking. I can't imagine the doctors asking him to wait for 3-7 years! They certainly should be able to clear up any infection within months and then monitor his condition for another 6 months or so. Before they chance giving him a hip again they should do a hip aspiration where they insert a hollow needle into the empty hip space and remove fluid and/or tissue. They let the specimen grow for a week or more and that way they can see if any germ is still lurking in the hip space. A bad infection is nothing to sneeze about....it can kill you and it almost killed me!! I sure hope he can get better clarification as to why he needs to wait so long before getting the hip re-implanted. I hope he has a much easier time than I did. I must admit that I learned so much about being a person who has to use a wheelchair 24/7. I've formed a whole new appreciation and respect for folks who have to live like that. The most important thing is to keep the lines of communication between him and his treating physician wide open. I wish you both good things and a speedy recovery. KathyMac
My father seems to be in exactly the same situation as your fiance, he had a hip replacement, but the thigh bone broke 3 weeks after he left hospital & had to be operated on again. The second operation was Girdlestone and then an infection set in, he was in hospital for 4 months. He was also in a very serious situation. The doctors did 3 cleaning operations and in the end had to remove part of the thigh bone as it was so infected, he is now (hopefully) clear of infection but like your fiance, has no hip & only part of his thigh bone. We live in Spain & went to the top hospital here (in Valencia) where they have a special bone infection unit, the first created in Spain, more than 25 years ago, and had the best doctor look at my fathers situation. My father is 73 & at the moment the doctors will not operate on him for two reasons, the risk to his health & also the worry of another infection. They have however had a brace for his leg made which, with time, should allow him to become mobile again. We are new in this situation & haven't been able to find anyone else like us. Have you managed to obtain any new information? Does your fiance have any type of brace? Has he now had his operation? We would love to know how you are getting on in America & if you have found anything we haven't.