My BHR was done with Trochanteric Flip, basically because I had a fused hip for 35 yrs and very little muscle left. .My surgeon, who rates as amongst best in Australia, did it that way to spare the muscle as much as possible and maybe give himself better room to do an op that hasn’t been performed successfully too many times. i.e. long term completely fused hips are not taken on too often.. I don’t have screws, he believed the good old fashion wire was safer in my situation. So my x-rays look like I have bought the price tag home.
I wasn’t allowed weight bearing for 6 weeks and walked on it for the first time in his office when I went for first review.
I figured weight bearing into a hip joint after 35 yrs was something special to do.
Anyways 9 yrs on I am going fine. I never had a hint of trouble and have far better ROM and limp than thought possible.
I had always been told I would never walk again even if I could find a surgeon silly enough to give me a hip joint. I walk and swim – 650 mtrs of butterfly 3x a week and work as a PT.
trying to teach others how to avoid having hips and knees replaced.
My Hip Resurfacing, Battle with Osteomyelitis and a Fused Hip by Edith
Childhood on a farm until 12 when I went down with Osteomyelitis.(Osteomyelitis
is a bone infection often caused by bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus ) Then
the following year I came down with Pyomyositis (abscess in the muscle tissue)
Both Osteomyelitis and Pyomyositis seemed to take it in turns playing with both
hips, wrists and back over the next 6 yrs. The Osteomyelitis finally settled on
my left pelvis beside my hip joint and my OS fused the hip joint in an effort to
stop the Osteomyelitis being a problem.
This worked but left me with no left hip. Having a fused hip means that one
cannot sit in a chair normally, cars are difficult to get into and out of, small
spaces such as aero plane seats are a nightmare etc. and the rest of the joints
in the body take a pounding.
At 18, I was just glad that the visits to hospital, long encounters with plaster
castes etc stopped and I could get on with life. I got work in an office, then
went to University and had a couple of overseas tours as well as travelling my
Early 30’s I had a son and came back to my home roots to live as I was finding
it harder to do my funny sitting all day in an office. Any doctor I ever saw
said it was impossible for me to have anything done about my hip, as this would
only stir up the Osteomyelitis . They would claim that it would be likely I
would likely lose my leg and could lose my life.
I kept being physically active. Grew an acre of cymbidium orchids for flowers,
planted up 3 acres of rainforest and looked after my son. After 40, the impact
of having the fused hip started to play total havoc with the rest of the body
and I was slowly being brought to a crippled state. Every so often I would hurt
my back doing something and during those times I basically could barely walk, as
I couldn’t hold my torso upright and move my right leg.
I was experiencing life getting narrower and narrower and less able to even care
for myself. I was facing needing to live in aged care at the tender age of 52
when I decided that perhaps I needed to stop listening to general doctors and
try saving myself. Though I had had internet for ages, I decided one afternoon
March 2002 after another back incident, to finally go use Google to see what
information was around about hip replacements. I stumbled onto the Totally hip
list – Resurface list was only in infancy then.
At that time a lady called Elizabeth was running same. My life was suddenly and
totally altered when she replied to my simple email asking if anyone had ever
heard of anyone like me getting a hip replacement. She wrote and said yes, with
reservations, and referred me to a couple of internet sites with information
including a couple of US Drs names.
I figured that if some US surgeon had done it, an Aussie wouldn’t be far behind.
Little knowing that these days it is around the other way. .i.e. we were into
resurfacing long before US.
An article about people with hip replaced via a THR, with such a long space as
mine, wasn’t very joyful. Low success, problems with dislocations, nonexistent
muscles etc. made 30 yrs considered far too long, let alone the 35 I was looking
Not to be deterred, I started trying to find an Australian surgeon who would at
least talk to me. I have a sister who is a GP and thought she was the best place
to start. She had always said not possible and started the usual story which
included, even if an OS was silly enough, I wouldn’t walk etc because my muscles
would be long dead etc. I refused to accept this and said, just ask, I will
worry about the rest, and thought she wouldn’t do anything.
I wrote to a couple of OS myself and phoned close by ones. Nothing bought me
much joy. One soon finds out what an arrogant lot OS are. However my sister did
actually act and asked her husband, who is an aenaesthest to keep an eye out.
Lucky for me, within a couple of weeks a young OS came to their area from Sydney
to do some temp work. My BIL asked him and he said there were only 2 surgeons in
Australia about to do such a thing in his estimation. Both were Dr Walter but he
preferred Dr Len as there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do with a hip joint.
My sister rang Dr Len and got a surprise when he was happy to speak to her.
Apparently so many OS are even unhappy to communicate with mere GP, let alone us
public. He knew exactly what she spoke about and offered to look at my case and
requested that I send him an email.
This was like being given the winning ticket in lotto. Part of me could hardly
believe it, and part of me was terrified it would go away. And so started my
adventure to get a new hip.
Dr Len said he would really like to try giving me a resurface because of its
numerous advantages for someone like me. i.e. hard to dislocate and minimal
disturbance of the bone given the Osteomyelitis . He stated the risks that I may
never walk again, may walk very poorly or even have the Osteomyelitis reoccur
(though he thought that very unlikely given his experience over the course of
his surgery life), but if I wanted to have a go he was happy to help me.
At that time he was the only surgeon who had ever had a success at putting a
resurface device into a fused hip in the whole world, as I later ascertained
i.e. Dr Bose hadn’t tried at that point. He had done 2 previously to mine and
both were doing well.
I had to wait 3 months for my trip down the long corridor and strangely it was
on my son’s birthday.
I was terrified something would happen to Dr Len while I waited. I used to ring
up the surgery each week to see he was well, which they tolerated. But when one
has waited for something for 35 yrs and only one person offers the out, it is
hard to be calm.
Funny things happened like cutting below my ankle a few days before surgery
which made me scared it would be cancelled. The visit from the anaesthiest the
night before saw him telling me that, if I had had Osteomyelitis , then under no
circumstances should I be having the operation the next day. I had to tell him
to go fight with the OS, and just do what he was paid for i.e.the anaesthetic.
The operation was thought to take 6 hrs and so when I woke up in recovery after
just 3 hrs I was instantly worried that something had gone wrong. Thankfully
nothing had. Just Dr Len was getting faster and found the situation around my
hip in a better condition than he thought it would be. Recovery was different to
most, as the hip was still very stiff and the leg totally weak. It ached, jumped
and carried on in general as the muscles hadn’t moved in 35 yrs and had been
pulled around during surgery. Nothing we could do made much difference except
Dr Len had also removed the Greater Trancater Bone in order not to damage
muscles any further and grafted it back on again. Meaning I couldn’t put weight
on the leg either.
They were to put me into rehab hospital for 14 days after 7 days in hospital,
but we parted company after about 10 days and I flew 1000 miles home. Rehab was
pretty useless when one has muscles in my state, so we grew tired of each other.
Then I began the long rehab. First I had to try to get the leg to respond to any
desires on my part to get it to move. It took weeks to just get it to follow me
into a car onto a bed etc. At 8 weeks I was allowed to give the crutches away
and take my first steps with a hip joint for 35 yrs. This was interesting and
very very wobbly, given I had few muscles doing anything. Around 4 months I took
to the pool. I had been advised to do this by a young sports psychologist. No
one had any idea really of what I needed to do, as there isn’t a lot of info
around about rehabilitating such a situation i.e. I have not found anyone else
who has rehabilitated such a hip joint. So I just worked away with some advice
from my son who was studying exercise science at Uni and the young lass who ran
the pool, who had a degree in same. Some things I had to figure out myself by
thinking about how strokes are rehab, and one gets the body to send messages
Lots of dog paddle up and down the pool. Lots of trying to get the leg to just
push down in water. Lots of trying to get it to bend.
Very slowly it all started to respond and still gets a tiny bit better all the
Today in 2008 my ROM is not great. I suspect that the placement of the
prosthesis limits just how much forward bend I will ever get – just shy of less
than 90 deg. Mine is further down the Femoral head than any others’ resurfaces I
have seen. But I regard this as a fair tradeoff for none at all. I also have
extensive scar tissue from other adventures, that limits getting far.
The leg is weaker than the other one, but looks the same. I can do about all
want to do and most importantly, sit fairly comfortably in a chair. My health
has significantly improved. I am able to keep myself healthy and fit. And after
all these years of Rehabilitation went off and got myself trained as a general
PT, Aqua and Pilates Instructor.
I now run a small exercise studio specializing in Rehabilitation.