I’ve been trying to get on the site for a couple of days now to post my success
story!! I’ve had a medical issue that’s been keeping me away. Low blood count
has made me have a few dizzy spells and yesterday I did faint, but fortunately
my husband was there to save me. Today is good… no dizziness, no nausea
My surgery was 1/22/08 at Alexian Brothers in Elk Grove Village. IL, by Dr.
Eugene Lopez. It was pretty amazing. I’ve done extremely well since the surgery,
except for the blood count issue. The pain that brought me to this point is
gone. I have basic surgical pain, soreness. My anesthesia was general and I had
a pain pump for the incision that was taken out at 3rd day postop. I was also
using a PCP (patient controlled pump), which I discontinued myself on Wednesday.
Right now I am on pain medication, but as I said before, the pain is mostly
surgical in that I am sore after doing my PT exercises, etc. I am using a
rolling walker. I have a two-story home, and stairs are no problem. I’m having
PT 5 times a week for the first week and then will be 3 times a week until
seeing Dr. Lopez. Dr. Lopez was very adamant in telling me that for the next 6
weeks, be extremely careful, and then after 6 weeks, he will let me go. He
doesn’t want me running a marathon, but that’s okay. Just to get back to being
able to walk normally and rise from a chair normally is good enough for me. And,
I will be able to get back to doing my speed walking and step aerobics. My
6-week postsurgical date just also happens to be my 30th wedding anniversary…
what a way to celebrate!! I think I’ll have my hubby take me dancing!!
My stay at the hospital was very good. I had excellent care. Although I was
unable to get to their "Joint Camp," I did progress as well as if I had, as I
was able to do all things from Joint Camp with my PT and OT. I was able to be in
their gym on Saturday before discharge and had more practice on stairs. That was
my biggest fear; however, stairs are now my best accomplishment. My surgical
scar, of which I cannot see as it is behind me, measures 8 inches. I have
staples. My first post-op appt is 2/11/08.
I would highly recommend Dr. Eugene Lopez of Midwest Sports Medicine in Elk
Grove Village, IL, for anyone wanting to do this procedure. He is a most
excellent surgeon and is very excited and enthusiastic regarding this procedure.
Dr. Lopez was trained by Mr. Traecy in Birmingham, England. Dr. Lopez has 50
plus resurfacing procedures to his credit. He told me his resurfacing patients
are doing very well. I had to be tested for my skin allergy to nickel and took
the blood test (lymphocyte reactivity in vitro), which is now being offered as a
"promising" test for allergy to the implant. However, this test has not been
deemed to be the predictor of implant failure or adverse reaction to the
implant. I have allowed Rush University, Chicago, IL, to use my test results and
information given to them for research purposes. Based on extensive research
myself on the Internet, along with consultation with Dr. Lopez, I opted to still
go ahead with the BHR. I believe my decision was a good one, as it was based on
the facts at hand rather than assumption.
I will be posting regularly during my recovery. Thanks for all the information
on this site. I believe it is best to be well informed and your own health
advocate, especially with such a major procedure. Recovery for me would not be
going as well if not for the information from this site, as well as with the
help of my husband. He has been my right leg throughout this, and I appreciate
it so much.
A most happy surface hippy, Elaine
11 Days Post OP
February 02, 2008,
I am now 11 days postop and am getting stronger every day. At this point in
time, it seems surreal that I had a hip resurfacing. I have no pain in the right
hip at all. My pain right now is incisional and muscular. I was not exercising
at all before the procedure, so am now dealing with the muscular weakness and
repairing the muscle that had to be cut into for the procedure. I was unable to
do anything prior to surgery due to the pain. That pain gone, I would say the
pain I have is almost identical to pain you feel when you work out too hard.
It’s a pain I have not felt in a long time, but a pain that is welcoming.
Incisional pain, I believe, will go away after my staples are removed. They will
be gone on 2/11/08. Can’t wait until that time.
I am doing many stretching exercises, along with strengthening, in physical
therapy. I have been told by the PT to stand up tall and walk with even steps
and to hold onto my walker with a very light touch… to be almost full weight
bearing on the right leg. This is amazing to me, as I was not even full weight
bearing before I went in for hip resurfacing. There are many smiles on my face
as I glide through walking. The exercises, on the other hand, produce a scrunchy
face as I try to strengthen the muscles.
I am so looking forward to the spring when I can get out and walk again or at
least I am looking forward to the snow to be gone. Walking for me was my biggest
exercise in the past. I look forward to getting out at about 5:30 a.m. to start
my day with a crisp walk, clear the mind, relieve the stress. It is amazing how
pain can cause you stress in all aspects of your life. My personality in pain
was not pleasant, as I’m sure not many out there are.
I will keep you posted on my recovery. If you are a person contemplating this
procedure… don’t wait. Find a surgeon close to you and get the ball rolling. I
guarantee with a trained surgeon behind you, you will not be sorry that you went
forward with it. Do it… Do it now. Don’t let another spring or summer go by
with your pain level so high that it takes days to recover for doing simple
chores. That was a high motivator for me. Last summer was probably the worst
summer I experienced since the start of my hip pain. I could not do gardening,
which left my yard in shambles. It made me very sad. Start your road to
living… you won’t regret it.
RBHR 1/22/08 — Dr. Eugene Lopez
21 days postop
February 12, 2008
I am at 21 days postop. I could not have imagined it going any better.
Yesterday, 2/11/08, I did get my staples removed. I did take some pain
medication before hand, due to this condition I’ve seemed to have developed that
when I have pain, my blood sugar seems to drop and I start feeling light headed.
I really don’t know where that came from. Staple removal went very well. A few
ouches, but all in all, nothing that was excruciating. I couldn’t believe when
the RN said she was done. She applied steri strips, but my incision looked
great, no redness, puffiness. I can shower as normal and the steri strips can
just fall off.
Dr. Lopez advanced me to a cane. X-rays were taken, and Dr. Lopez was very
pleased with how they look. In his words I have a classic textbook positioning,
the pin placed right, the femur cup is sitting very well on the femur head…
everything looks excellent. He is very pleased. I will start outpatient therapy
at his therapy facility site, as they have developed a hip resurfacing protocol.
I was told that at six weeks postop (3/4/08) I will be allowed to do everything.
Normally at the six week interval with hip replacements, they are given
instructions for ADL’s (activities of daily living) and how to proceed from
there; i.e., tying shoes, clipping toenails, getting on socks, bending over. Dr.
Lopez said I will be given no instructions on this, as I will proceed as I would
normally. That will be awesome, because I haven’t been able to polish or clip my
toenails for at least 1 1/2 years. My husband will be most happy for this ;D
I cannot stress enough how this hip resurfacing has changed my life. To think 2
short months ago I was living with such unbearable pain and looking at a life of
Cortisone injections and eventual THR. What a life-changing event. With
perseverance in finding a qualified surgeon and one who is very likeable and
excited and enthusiastic about the hip resurfacing procedure, my life has been
changed to a future of getting back to myself and doing the things I enjoy doing
in life and just being me.
On Saturday in the mail I received my Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Card that
identifies me as a recipient, along with my date of surgery and my surgeon, Dr.
Eugene P. Lopez. This card I will carry in my wallet with pride. I am so proud
to have this card and to be able to say that I was able to weigh all the medical
evidence on hand, find a most capable and enthusiastic surgeon, and was able to
make an intelligent decision to have this relatively new procedure performed.
Please, if you are living with such pain and find life to be not a friendly
place to be right now, seek out and investigate the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing
System. Find a surgeon that you are most comfortable with. Most insurance
companies are paying for this procedure. Because it is such a new procedure,
they do not have a separate code for this procedure and are still billing it as
hip replacement. The number one item on your agenda is to find a surgeon who is
very skilled with BHR. Also, take along the questions on this site so you have a
starting point to help you decide on your surgeon. Dr. Lopez was not my first
choice. After asking a few questions from this site to the first surgeon I saw,
it was clear to me that we would not mesh and I would not be comfortable with
him. Thus, my search was short for Dr. Lopez, as my good friend directed me to
him. I have not regretted that in any way!!!
For all of you comtemplating this… be sure to ask questions on this site. You
will receive a multitude of answers from many who have joined this site and have
gone before you. Even though I have not met anyone personally, as we all have
this common bond of living life pain free and wanting to share our experiences
to help others, we are so very anxious to help others achieve that. Start your
road to freedom from pain… find a surgeon and be ready to enjoy life by the
summer!!!! Take care,
RBHR — Dr. Eugene Lopez — 1/22/08
From the Beginning
My pain started with this ache in my right groin about 2003. Nothing
major and it was certainly not keeping me from doing any of my usual
activities, bike riding, walking, step aerobics, etc. This pain would
even disappear once in awhile. In February 2004 I was going to travel
with my husband to Germany on a business trip and wanted something to
ease my anxiety and mentioned this groin pain to my GP. She said after I
got back, we would look at it further. The plane ride to and from
Germany was excruciating, as I had absolute no leg room, being 5’11".
In March 2004 I had hip x-rays and then was sent for an MRI, as they saw
something on my left hip, the one without pain and wanted a full pelvic
scan. That probably was the most unpleasant 45 minutes I have ever had
to endure lying in one position. I could barely move my right leg to get
up off the MRI table. Nothing major, though, a little arthritis, some
narrowing, more on the right than the left. I was then started on some
anti-inflammatories and sent to physical therapy. This helped somewhat,
but the pain was still there in the groin.
In May 2005, being barely able to walk, I went to my GP and asked to
be referred to my first Orthopedic Surgeon. At that point, the OS said
to me that he has seen worse with people with no pain and like me very
little arthritis with lots of pain, but also I had bone spurs on my
right femur head, which were probably the biggest problem. I was given 3
options, medication, Cortisone injections, or THR. I was only 48 and
THR just seemed too early, as he agreed also, being as I would probably
have to do it again in 20 years or so. The option was medication. I was
trialed on just about every anti-inflammatory there is. The only one
that took the pain away slightly was Mobic, but barely. In August 2005 I
had my first Cortisone injection under fluoroscopy, which for me was
the miracle. Pain free at last. My OS made the statement that is how I
will feel after a THR.
My injection maybe lasted with pain free symptoms for about 8 months —
April. After that I was on Mobic and tried to live with the pain. It
wasn’t as bad as it had been before. Then summer came and outdoor
activities intensified. I found if I tried to garden, I was out for 3 to
4 days with such major pain. Then I went back to the OS and asked if I
had a THR, would he use the Stryker, because I had heard that was
titanium ceramic and had a longer life span… He said no, there was not
enough evidence. I also asked him to cut off the bone spurs, no again,
they would grow back. At this point it was time for a 2nd opinion.
I went to another OS to ask about THR, bone spur removal, etc. This OS
told me the same story. THR was my only option, but try to wait with
Cortisone injections and medication. This was on 10/9/06 I called my
first OS and scheduled another Cortisone inj. for 10/11/06. On Fri.,
10/13/06, I was out walking my dog early in the a.m., feeling very fine
with this new pain-free hip with the Cortisone injection, wanting to get
back into some usual routine, and saw this water in the roadway…. I
was on the sidewalk and down I went. I had slipped on some "black ice."
And, of course, I fell on my right hip with my leg bent under me… ouch
did that hurt, but I said. Ok… let’s get up I think I can. I got up
on my hands and knees. This was very early in the a.m. and I was in a
new subdivision that was being built, so there were no people around
except for the construction crews. Then I slowly rose to my feet and
slowly walked off the ice. I was able to walk home (yes, silly me forgot
my cell phone) very slowly, but I noticed something just didn’t seem
right with my foot/ankle…. When I got home I could barely walk up my
stairs and took off my shoe. My anke/foot was swelling up. I called my
friend, who is a nurse, and asked if she thought I broke something, and
if so, how could I have walked on it. She said "when in doubt, wait it
out," and told me the 20 minute on, 20 minute off with ice. I did this
for about a half day, and lucky me I am able to work out of my house.
In the afternoon, I took a picture of my foot and emailed it to my
friend. She called me and told me to call the ER to see how busy they
are and to have it checked out, because it didn’t look very good. Got to
the ER, had an x-ray, and yes, broke my fibula (outside bone) right at
the bottom near the ankle. Why was I able to walk home… it is not the
weight-bearing bone I was told, the tibia (inside bone) is. I had to go
to a different OS at my OS office on Monday, as my OS was on his
honeymoon. Was put in a boot cast and back to him in six weeks. At my
six week check-up my original OS told me that I should go off my
anti-inflammatory Mobic, as it will impede bone growth. This I did. And,
because of the Cortisone and the Mobic I was on, it took about one year
before my bone was healed. At this time, my right hip is again
bothering me and so unbelievable painful. I again could hardly walk.
This is when my brother-in-law told me about a new procedure hip
resurfacing. A few months later I read an article about someone in my
hometown that had hip resurfacing done by an OS and he sounded just like
me with all the symptoms. My insurance changed in October 2007, and I
was finally able to go and see this new OS. Yes he did hip resurfacing,
and from your x-rays you look like a good candidate. But, I will warn
you, the fittings are in 4 mm increments, and if there is not one that
will fit, I will have the THR ready for you. Ok, I said, but right now
I’m in lots of pain, can you give me a Cortisone injection. If I wanted
one that day, he did it, but he did not guarantee it, as it is best to
do under fluoroscopy to hit the right spot. Made another appt. with him
to talk more about the setting up the hip resurfacing surgery. However,
the injection did not take at all so on 11/11/06 was in the hosp.
getting another injection under fluoroscopy. This one worked, and the OS
told me to make an appt. in early Dec. so I can get on the surgery
I then found this site. I saw that if you had a metal allergy you should
alert your MD. So when I went back to the OS in December, he asked me
how I was doing, which my response was great, as I was pain-free, and he
said ok, then, we will go with the injections. I said, wait, I’m here
to schedule a hip resurfacing, and oh, by the way, I have sensitivity to
cheap jewelry and have to make sure I wear nickel free jewelry. Well,
this shed a whole new light on the story. First I need to be tested by
blood draw by Rush University to see how sensitive I am, and second if
you are sensitive, and seeing how the Cortisone injection are working
for you, he wanted to keep giving Cortisone injection. I asked him
aren’t those harmful and will eventually break down the cartilage. He
told me my cartilage is breaking down anyway, and who are you listening
to your friends, the internet. You should listen to your MD. Right there
is when I decided he was not the OS for me, even if he did do hip
I then came home thoroughly and completely downhearted. I talked to
another friend of mine, who is also a nurse, and she said…. go see Dr.
Eugene Lopez. She looked up the Smith & Nephew site and said he was
on it. Believe me, she said, you will like him, and he will give it to
you straight. She told me she would go with me. Not only is she my
friend, but I also work for the case management company she and my other
friend started. So I made an appt with Dr. Lopez for 12/10/06. He was
most helpful. He trained with Mr. Ronan Treacy in Birmingham, England.
He is very excited about this procedure, as it is what us "young active"
people are looking for. He said from the x-rays I look like a good
candidate for the hip resurfacing. He said he would not bale out on me
and do a THR unless there was absolutely something very wrong that is
not seen on x-ray that he finds when he is in surgery. As far as the
metal allergy goes, as I had already ordered the blood kit from Rush
University, he told me to go ahead and take the test. Luckily, my son is
able to draw blood, so he was able to do that, and we sent it off and
waited for the results. In the meantime, I scheduled my surgery for
1/22/08, my donation of 1 unit of blood, my preop blood work and EKG,
and my preop physical with my GP.
When the results came back from the metal allergy blood sensitivity
test, it showed that I was highly sensitive to nickel and somewhat
sensitive to cobalt and iron. Great, cobalt is a major metal in the BHR.
Before I spoke with Dr. Lopez about these results and what I was going
to do with them, I was able to find out, through research from my
wonderful aunt, that my grandmother, who also suffered from metal
sensitivity, had bilateral knee implants made from cobalt chrome. Dr.
Lopez called and explained to me that the orthopedic community is 50/50
on the metal sensitivity issue. He told me about the metal ions in the
blood and that it was a rare incident that metal implants cause
problems, that there is really no clear-cut answer. I told him I also
had read a lot of info on this site. I had also called the lab that was
doing the metal sensitivity study, and they, too, have not been doing
this study long enough and still do not have clear-cut data. Dr. Lopez
told me he had just done a surgery on a woman who had metal sensitivity,
took the blood test, but she and her husband had opted for the THR
instead of the BHR. Well, based on all this mound of information from
Dr. Lopez, this site, and what my very good nurse friend had told me
that because of the uncertainty of this whole issue, she felt it was
better to go with the BHR because there is no evidence based studies
only theories and hypothesis about metal allergies…. So I have weighed
the evidence and the decision I made with the objective data… hip
resurfacing here I come!!!!!!
I will definitely keep a posting going about how everything goes. I hope
this will help someone out there weighing this option. I can only say
that I am thoroughly looking forward to my pain-free life. I know
compared to some of you all, my pain has not been suffered as long as
yours, but that’s why we need the pioneers out there looking for new
techniques to help us all. Talk to you on the "other side" as they say.
I’m hoping to see if Dr. Lopez will videotape something or even submit