I am 47 and had my hip resurfaced in
June. Before resurfacing came along, I had been told by an orthopedic surgeon that I would
be a candidate for replacement "someday." I had decided to hold
out as long as I could for something else to come along, knowing
that amazing medical advancements are coming along faster and faster.
I had a minor sports injury to my left hip back in high
school, probably resulting in some mild cartilage damage. But, the
normal wear and tear caused the cartilage to wear down much faster,
and starting in 2001 I started having a lot of trouble. I had
developed a pretty good limp due to decreasing loss of mobility in that
hip joint. Then, luckily in the spring of 2006 I saw a story on my
local news about this "new alternative" to hip replacement.
I am so pleased with my results! I would make the decision
again, and (God forbid) I were to need the surgery on my other hip, and
I would have it. This procedure truly gives you back your life.
I think that "wait until you can stand it no more" is kind
of "old school thinking" when it comes to this procedure. And,
interestingly, after I had scheduled my surgery, it seemed my hip declined
even faster as I neared my surgery date. I got to the point where
I couldn’t wait for the surgery!<
About the pain: that is so hard to answer, because everyone
responds to pain differently, and every surgery is different. I would
say that I, personally, must have a pretty good tolerance of pain …
heck! We must surely build up a pretty good tolerance with the daily
living with arthritis! I had NO pain in the joint and NO pain from
my incision. In fact, my incision was rather numb (and still
is). The only "pain" I had was from the dressing changes! (The
hospital sent me home with these big, super sticky bandages that were
tough to remove — and THAT hurt!) Walking around on the newly
operated hip was not painful for me. It just felt kind of odd — a bit
swollen and stiff, but already so much better than before my surgery. I
did so well, in fact, that I quit taking pain killers a few days
after returning home. I love having my evening glass of wine, so I
quit the pain killers so I could have that! I just took aspirin and
did great. In fact, I took less aspirin than before surgery, which I
was taking quite a bit of beforehand. (I’m one of those that won’t take medication unless absolutely necessary. I figured I would
tough it out with Advil, but I had no trouble at all. I think I lowered
my aspirin dose down to just one a day (that is what my surgeon wanted
me to take as my blood thinner for 6 weeks).
Again, that is my personal experience. Some people on this
board have written about having quite a bit of trouble with pain
post-surgery, needing to take their pain killers for several weeks. Some
have experiences like mine, and I think many fall somewhere in
between. But, I think most would say their pain was worse before the
surgery. The post-op pain is "different."
I think many would also say their reaction to the surgery
was "why did I wait so long?" Truly, it is only during these past few
months when I realize how much pain I was in. After a couple of weeks,
my lower back and knee pain (left) started disappearing, and at about
3 months I could sleep "normally." I no longer have to get up right
away because of back pain. I can now stay all cuddled up under
the covers and feel comfortable. The other day, I was shopping.
Subconsciously, I kept waiting for the lower back pain to start, but then
realized as the day went on, that I had none!
These are the only drawbacks I have found so far: being able
to sleep in, housework no longer hurts, I can stand in place for a
loooong time, mowing the lawn doesn’t hurt … rats! Now I can no
longer give excuses for not getting things done around the house. 🙂
You do have to be patient: recovery takes time, it will take
longer to do things the first couple of weeks (e.g. getting cleaned up
and dressed in the morning), accept that some days you might
have "buyer’s remorse, wondering what in the world you have gotten
yourself into, wondering if you will get past the post-surgery phase, and
learn to trust that it does all get better.
You don’t mention specifically what your knee problems are
— how bad, etc. I would probably say expect the knee of your "good leg"
to suffer a bit during recovery from resurfacing, because you
have to put so much of your weight on the non-operated side, such as
when getting up from a chair, taking stairs, etc. But, you quickly grow
stronger, and then will find yourself starting to more evenly
distribute your weight on both legs as you progress. But, I bet the first
few weeks will put your "good side" through its paces.
Resurfacing is AWESOME! Check it out. I have read good
things about Pritchett on this board, too, so you can be confident in his
skills. Don’t suffer if you don’t have to. Resurfacing will put an
end to you progressively getting worse and, instead, cause you to get
better and better! Few people in this world have the option to regain
their former life!