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    Old 11-27-2007, 05:02 PM   #1
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    Location: Mooresville, NC, USA
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    karin57 HB User
    Question Hip replacement advice needed

    I was told 5 months ago that I need a hip replacement. I am 50 years old and consider myself active. I enjoy snow skiing, hiking, biking and exercising. My dr told me I would have to give up skiing. At first, I thought I could buy a few more years by doing physical therapy and seeing a chiropracter, but the pain is getting much worse and I can now barely walk. I feel like I am going to have to give in to the surgery. I would like to get back to my active state after surgery. I've seen some people have been able to resume skiing but then I see others who have dislocated their hip for no reason at all. Also, how do you go about finding a doctor who is right for you?

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    Old 11-27-2007, 07:10 PM   #2
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    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    I've encountered posts from people who resume xcountry skiing after successful THR. Downhill might be another matter and it isn't surprising that your surgeon would caution against it - they probably consider that there's too much chance for injury to risk wrecking your new hip. Many people bike after THR - I don't see why you couldn't. Same with hiking and exercising. Some (most?) surgeons will likely caution against running or jogging after THR. This is because it's a high impact activity that will accelerate the wear of your bearing. Ceramic/ceramic and metal/metal bearings generate far fewer wear particles than metal/poly bearings. Ask your surgeon which kind you will receive. As you interview surgeons, be sure to lay out your expectations for activity after you have recovered. He will tell you if they are realistic.
    Also, surgeons may differ in their opinions on what is a prudent level of activity for THR patients. It's probably safe to assume that they will not recommend any high impact sport. Of course there are always a few patients who ignore this and do whatever they want. And maybe wear out their hip prematurely and need a revision sooner rather than later.
    I've had both hips replaced. I was a few years older than you but I can now walk miles, use several exercise machines at the gym (elliptical trainer, stationary cycle, and I walk on the treadmill sometimes). I do free weights and also do my PT exercises to keep my hip muscles toned so they can hold everything together!
    There is also a new surgical procedure being done in the US recently that might be worth your investigation: hip resurfacing. The device used has been recently approved by FDA although the surgery has been done abroad for years. It involves capping the head of the femur with a metal cap instead of cutting it off as is done in total replacement. The acetabulum [pelvis] is treated similarly in both surgeries: it is routed out and a metal cup is inserted. As you interview surgeons you might ask about this procedure also but don't be surprised if you encounter surgeons who don't perform it because it's relatively new in the US and it may not be appropriate for all patients.
    When you choose a surgeon, keep in mind two factors that are important: first, the surgeon should perform lots of hip surgery procedures on patients like you. second, the hospital that the surgeon uses should host lots of hip replacement surgeries. Look for surgeons who are board certified in orthopedic surgery AND FELLOWSHIP-TRAINED in adult joint reconstruction or similar specialty. Many people get hung up on personality and I can tell you that personality or likeability are not the most important criteria for surgeon selection. Many ortho surgeons are not that affable but are wonderful surgeons who get fantastic results.
    Start drafting a list of questions that you have about all aspects of your upcoming surgery & take the list with you to your appointment.

    Last edited by Tobias; 11-28-2007 at 06:05 PM. Reason: correct an unclear statement; my changes are in caps

    Old 11-27-2007, 08:53 PM   #3
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    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    Tobias gave you great information. My husband was 38 when he had his first hip replacements. His surgeon was certainly not known for his lovely personality but for his surgical skills. As we got to know him we found endearing qualities about him. He just says it like it is and has tantrums.
    Hubby was told his hips were not designed for running so yes there were lifestlye changed made, but he was to the point he couldn't walk anymore when he finally gave in to having the surgery. Actually, afterwards, he made the comment he wished he hadn't waited so long.
    He took up golf and bike riding. Said line dancing hurt his hips....(yeah right, he just didn't want to do it) and this past year, sixteen years after his original surgeries, he had the hips replaced again as the plastic cup wore out. He is back out on the golf course.

    Old 11-28-2007, 04:59 PM   #4
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    karin57 HB User
    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    Thanks so much for your responses. I have been on the Internet researching the hip resurfacing procedure and the doctors in my area who perform them. I was glad to see that a Dr. I already have an appt with after the first of the year was on the list. I ordered a book and will start compiling my questions.

    Old 11-29-2007, 09:03 AM   #5
    liverpool sue
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    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    i have two resurfaced hips, done 10 months apart in the year i was 51 (4 years ago). although not a skier, i do a lot of walking on the fells, and in the mountians in north wales, and most recently in switzerland. so i can tell you that hiking is definitely possible! the surgeon who operated on me showed me a post-card he had received from a former patient who was on holiday skiing, so that too is possible, although not something i think i would like to risk.
    if you are at the stage where walking is barely possible, then you really will notice such a difference when you have whichever operation you and your surgeon decide is best for you. resurfacing has been great for me, but as has been said, it isn't suitable for everyone.

    Old 11-30-2007, 06:08 AM   #6
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    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    Hi Karen,
    I had both hips replaced at the same time at age 53, May '05. I was/am very active too. I returned to almost all my former athletic activites, many competetivly, including downhill skiing (former PSIA instructor), x/c skiing, horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking/climbing, rollerblading, kayaking, weight training, yoga ect. the only thing I no longer due much of is running. My surgeon has given me the go ahead to do all these things. The only thing he is not thrilled about is my returning to competitive running, so I have cut that back to occasional short runs on very soft surfaces just to satisfy my need.

    The surgeon who did my hips was the third OS I saw and both my DH and I knew immediatly he was the one we would trust. His reputation is well known, he does over 360/yr., he listens to my concerns and just to top it off, he is incredibly easy on the eyes As far as material, I went with his recommendations of highly crosslinked poly/titanium, MIS, posterior. He does use many different devices and explains how each one works for the individual case. I had actually made up my mind before hand that poly was my last choice, but after talking to him and doing a little more research, I had to admit, it probably is the best choice for my active lifestyle. At my 2 yr checkup, everything still looks great.

    I have a feeling that the surgeons who are more confident in their work tend to be the most lenient with their restrictions. Your physical condition going into surgery also is a huge consideration. As well as your commitment to follow up PT. There is always some risks, but usually waiting will do you no good. You will only get worse. I tried every alternative for 3 yrs before giving in to surgery, then I wanted to kick myself for waiting so long!

    If I can give you any advice, find a surgeon you really trust who has a solid track record, and get yourself as strong as you can before surgery. Then start to look forward to getting your life back again.


    Old 11-30-2007, 01:27 PM   #7
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    karin57 HB User
    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    Thanks again for all your advica Andrea and Sue. You all have given me great hope. I hope to find a great surgeon, I have already been to two OS and did not feel they were right for me. Based upon all your responses I am ready to find the right OS and schedule the surgery so I can get back to my old life. How nice that you were able to find one easy on your eyes, Andrea. I hear that is an unusual combination!

    Old 01-09-2008, 06:18 AM   #8
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    Smile Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    Hi Karin,

    I also had a resurface in May of 2007 ( I was 57 then ). After only a few weeks I felt like my old self - before the hip problems - that is. My new hip is wonderful, no pain etc. I did have to have a bone density test to determine the quality of the bone prior to the dr consenting to do this type of surgery and made sure that the dr in our area has done hundreds - ( no experimenting on me, please!) My husband just had a resurface done on Dec. 19th by the same dr and is getting along well - was given the ok to drive after 2 weeks ( it's his left hip ) - and believe me when I say - day by day you really feel the difference.


    Old 05-16-2008, 05:54 PM   #9
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    Re: Hip replacement advice needed

    Hi, Andrea! I am a newbie to this site and a five-month veteran of THR. I too was very active until problems developed with an ankle I broke 10 years ago caused my opposite hip to go bad in less than a year's time. The first question I asked my wonderful doc was if I could ride my horse again and it got to be a running joke between us and the last thing he said to me before the lights went out on me before surgery was, "Yes, you will ride your horse again!"

    My question is, how did you get started back? I have my saddle in my livingroom and just the past two days have started straddling it. It feels great to be IN the saddle, but swinging my leg OVER it is daunting. Did you do any special exercises before mounting the first time? My problem is probably compounded by a double mastectomy that has left me rather short on muscle strength (I'm not sure I can even saddle Sarah by myself, since I haven't in the two years since the surgery). Ugh...getting old isn't for sissies!

    My Sarah is a trained police horse (I used to do mounted patrol for our sheriff's office), so I have no fear that she will freak out, and I have trained her to allow easy mounting from either side. Even so, do you have any words of wisdom to help me regain my confidence?

    Thanks, Andrea--your story inspires me!

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