Just thought I’d share my experience to date in the spirit of this excellent site.
an active 59 year-old who, until March 2012, was playing tennis two or
three times a week and going on long walking holidays with my wife.
Deterioration of my left hip due to arthritis put paid to all this.
So I had resurfacing on my left hip two weeks ago today, by Sarah Muirhead-Allwood at the Princess Grace Hospital, London.
an aside (and only relevant to UK readers) my insurance company, Simply
Health UK, would only pay fees up to a maximum of £995 for this
procedure. Ms Muirhead-Allwood charges £2,250 so I had to make up a fair
amount from my own pocket. Be warned!]
All went well with the
surgery as far as anyone can tell at this stage. Here are just a few
observations about my own experience.
Immediate post-op experience:-
was amazed to be walking with a single crutch less than 24 hours after
surgery, and able to the do the basic physio exercises they give you. I
already seemed to have almost more movement in the new joint than I’d
had the day before surgery. There was some stiffness and a little
soreness, but really not much problem from the joint itself.
positive experience – all nursing, physio and admin staff were
delightful. Food terrible! Hospital décor a bit old and shabby and my
first room was laughably hot with non-functioning air-conditioning which
was louder than a farm tractor! I got myself moved after the first
night to a different room which was newly-refurbished and really superb.
reported elsewhere, Sarah Muirhead-Allwood’s bedside manner is
somewhat… well, limited… but who cares when her hip surgery track record
is pretty much second to none in the UK if not the world. I think she’s
amazing, and it’s clear that her whole team does too.
My op was on a
Friday and I would have been home on the following Monday were it not
for the fact that the ‘drain’ wound in my thigh was still very slightly
leaky. As it was, I was out by the Wednesday.
Swelling and Bruising:-
had read warnings about potential swelling and bruising, but was
actually a bit shocked as to how bad it was. My thigh ballooned, and
this black and blue balloon is gradually traversing its way down my
leg. Currently my ankle and foot are very swollen and my toes are
This isn’t a huge deal as it’s mainly cosmetic. But in some
places (especially my shin and the back of my knee) the bruising has
been really sore – almost like bad sunburn – and has helped keep me
awake at night. I saw my GP about it yesterday who prescribed Heparinoid
cream (under the brand name Hirudoid) which has made an immediate
difference. I wish they’d told me about it when I left hospital.
also wish I’d started taking Arnica in advance of the surgery and right
through my time in hospital. As it is, I didn’t think of taking it
until a couple of days after surgery, but which time the bruising was
already in full swing.
Icing really helps. Start it early and keep doing it!
The surgical ‘TED’ stockings:-
can I say? They are horrible and thoroughly uncomfortable. I hate
them! I’ll stick with them because Sarah M-A is insistent, but I am
quite envious of those whose surgeons don’t believe in them!
Pain after two weeks:-
don’t get a lot of pain from the hip joint itself, although it lets me
know if I try to bend too far or when I’m lying on it for too long. The
majority of the pain comes from sore muscles in my
quads and glutes
and from the bruised swelling as it spreads down my leg and from
swelling around the incision line in my hip (the line is about 7” long).
well documented throughout the site, sleeping is a bit of a nightmare.
Being on my back is pretty dreadful for starters, but I have also been
plagued with leg cramps as well as soreness from the bruising. This is
all getting slowly better but after two weeks I still sleep for a
maximum of 60-90 minutes at a time before having to get up and move
around till things ease up again. The cramps in my quads are the worst,
closely followed by the ‘sunburn’ sensation in my calf, shin and behind
my knee from the bruised skin.
been taking medication for raised blood pressure for a few years. This
usually maintains it at more or less ‘normal’ levels of 20-something
over 180-something. Immediately after the op my BP fell to around 100
over 60 and stayed around that level while I was in hospital. The nurses
withheld my medication and told me to start taking it again at home
when BP reached around 130 over 120-odd again. I wasn’t advised how
long this might take. After two weeks BP is still not up to the old
levels. No bad thing but I need to keep an eye on it!
is no problem at all with a walk-in shower. I really miss the bath
though! It was a full 11 days before I could sit on any kind of toilet
seat (including the special raised one I bought) without significant
discomfort. It’s pretty much OK now, but that first period is not great –
really sore at first as you’re sitting pretty much on the incision
Do invest in plenty of dried fruit in the days immediately after surgery to get things moving, as it were.
two weeks, I’m comfortable walking around the house without a stick
(cane), although I do use one on the stairs just as a precaution. I walk
for around half an hour a day out of the house. I take a stick, but
this is more to warn other people to give me a wide berth than because I
really feel I need it!
uncomfortable to sit still for more than an hour (or less) and I need to
get up and keep moving. This is partly because of the swelling around
the incision line and partly because of the bruised leg muscles.
put left sock or shoe on at all and still struggle with underwear and
trousers without help. The physio in the hospital told me not to worry
about being too slavish about sticking to the 90-degree rule, and it’s
definitely true that I can bend a bit more than 90 degrees without any
protests from the hip, but I worry about pushing it too far.
general I feel surprisingly good, though I’m tired a lot of the time
through lack of a decent night’s sleep. I can already tell that the new
hip is going to be better than the old arthritic one, and I feel very
positive for the future.
However, I must say that the discomfort
from swelling, bruising and cramping to the muscles in my glute and leg
are worse than I was anticipating. Like others on here, I’ve read a lot
of those “I had no pain from the moment I woke up onwards” stories. I
can only say “lucky, lucky people!”.
I suspect that my
experience is more common: yes, the arthritic pain has gone. But
there’s a whole range of other discomforts to deal with in the first
fortnight, and it looks as though some of them will be with me for a
The great news, however, is that I know they will fade and
cease in time, unlike the arthritis which would have remained with me –
and got worse – for life.
If anyone’s interested I‘ll give another update in a couple of weeks.