I am a 61 year old man with an 18 year old mind. I have been playing recreational soccer 2x a week, year around, for the past 15 years. About 4 years ago I decided to go with a personal trainer so that I could remain competitive in this sport as long as possible. I was having soreness and hip swelling after my games for the last couple of years but just chocked it up to getting older. It was somewhat controllable if I loaded up with Ibuprofen before games and iced my hip after the game. Last November I was playing soccer and heard a loud pop and lots of pain in my groin. I assumed I just pulled some muscles and it would get better with rest and stretching. It didn’t, so I finally went to an OS. He had me get an xray and it showed that I had osteoarthritis’s of the right hip. I was bone on bone on my right hip but the good news was that my left hip was normal. He explained my options, cortisone injections, THR, and something called resurfacing that he admitted he knew very little about. I told him I was interested in competing in the Senior Olympics and he just laughed and said they would need to create a new category for people like me.
I decided that I needed to learn everything about this disease before making any decisions. I love the Internet. I ended up landing on the surfacehippy web site and read everything on it. What a great website. My local OS could not give me a doctor recommendation for a resurfacing procedure, so the website was very helpful in finding the right doc for me. It was clear that I would have to travel to get a doc with a lot of experience. I picked Dr. Ure since he was experienced and Mt. Shasta was within a reasonable driving distance. The Mercy Medical Center at Mt. Shasta offered an excellent program for patients undergoing this procedure. I noticed that patients were getting released quickly and that convinced me that they had spent a lot of time streamlining the process for this procedure.
I made an appointment to see Dr. Ure on July 15th and I signed up to go through the Mercy Medical Center training program that was being held the same day. I also had them pencil me in for surgery on Monday, August 4th. I met with Dr. Ure and he reviewed my xrays and agreed that I was a good candidate for a resurfacing procedure. The training was great and we were able to meet a lot of the hospital staff. It was clear that they had put a lot of effort in making sure your stay at the hospital was as comfortable as possible.
I checked in to the hospital @ 6:00am on Monday, August 4th. I was in surgery @ 9:25 and out @ 11:35. I chose a spinal with conscious sedation. When I woke up I was pretty much pain free. I was told I got pretty chatty in the recovery room. I got very little sleep the first night but the pain was very tolerable. The patient activated pain medication didn’t seem to do much for me, so I decided to leave that button alone. One word of caution. I do not normally sleep on my back. You pretty much have to for the first couple of nights. I don’t think anybody gets much sleep the first couple of nights.
The next morning the PT came in for the exercises and to get me up. The exercises went fine but when I stood up to walk with a walker my BP dropped to a level that got me dizzy and nauseous. I was told that this was a common reaction and that he would come back in the afternoon. The afternoon walk went very well, full weight bearing and several laps of the hallway.
It’s Wednesday morning and I am told if everything goes well I will be released today. I was given my standard hypertension medications the night before. The PT came in for my morning exercise & walk. I had low BP and it took a while to stabilize after I stood up. I would suggest anyone with hypertension discuss this with your OS as to whether you should be taking this medication the first few days post op. My PT showed me how to go up and down stairs with crutches and I was released from the hospital around 2:00pm.
My wife and I stayed one more day at the Mt. Shasta Resort. Very nice accommodations and they give you a discount if you are a patient at Mercy Hospital.
The drive home to Napa, California was uneventful and we stopped a couple of times to stretch our legs. I am glad to be home. I was given a prescription for pain medication but decide I really didn’t need it. The most amazing thing I notice is I am walking around the house and our yard without walker, crutches or cane and no significant pain. These items are to go in the closet and never see the light of day again.
I am 14 days post op and every day I am making progress. I was able to walk up and down stairs without crutches/cane from the first day I got home. I am taking long walks outside without any walking aids. I am not doing this to be macho, I just feel very stable on my new hip.
I would recommend anyone considering this procedure try to get themselves in the best physical shape possible before the surgery. A personal trainer can make a huge difference in this process.
Dr. Ure and the staff @ Mercy Medical Center get an A+ for taking good care of me. I would highly recommend Dr. Ure for anyone considering this procedure.
September 2, 2009 Update
RBHR 8/4/2008 Dr. Ure
And now for the rest of the story
I already posted my story about Dr. Ure and the Mt. Shasta medical facility. I have quite a lot to add so please bear with me. I had x-rays taken apx 6 weeks post op and scheduled a telephone conference call with Dr. Ure. He said everything looked normal and prescribed the standard impact & ROM restrictions. I was researching the issues people have during recovery and ran across x-rays that show femoral notching. My xrays appeared to show femoral notching also, so I tried to set up a conference call with Dr. Ure after my 4 month post op x-rays were taken. I was told by his office staff that Dr. Ure was unwilling to schedule telephone conference calls with his patients any more.
I decided to send my x-rays to the very experienced doctors mentioned on this web site that will do email evaluations and provide a second opinion. I received three responses and all three doctors said I had significant femoral notching. One of these doctors mentioned that he thought the femoral component that was selected was too small for my femur and that probably led to the notching.
Since I was not getting any cooperation from Dr. Ure I requested the post op report and x-rays from the hospital. The post op report made no mention of femoral notching. The x-ray that I received was only one view (anterior). They did not take a lateral view. In the subsequent x-rays, the notching only showed up on the lateral views. Your probably asking yourself why don’t they take post op lateral views. I don’t have the answer for that yet but I will continue to pursue until I get a satisfactory explanation.
I went to the smith & nephew website where they provide a very detailed description of how the femoral component should be installed. They provide templets, gages, etc to prevent any possibility of notching.
So after having this experience, I would suggest you ask the following questions of any doctor performing this procedure.
1) What alignment angles are you trying to achieve when you install this device and can you provide me post op xray measurements of how accurately you were able to achieve those angles?
2) Do you take two views post op (anterior & lateral) and if not, why?
3) If you have surgical error, like notching, will you tell me post op?
4) How long will you follow my recovery and will you be available for telephone conference calls?
5) How many procedures have you done, # of revisions, dislocations, infections…etc.
I am a very active 62 year old man, pt 2X a week and soccer on the weekends. I understand that I am at greater risk for AVN but I plan to live my life and do the things I enjoy and not worry too much about what might happen.
I have attached my x-rays for those who have not seen a notched femur.