Wednesday, October 5, 2011

a HIP mom - What To Expect - Part 4

October 21, 2011 
is the day of my surgery

and I'd very much liked to share with you the way Dr. Brooks explained the difference between hip resurfacing and hip replacement to me.

Hip replacement is where you cut off the femoral head, drill a 12 - 13" hole down into your femur and place a very long metal shaft into your bone. Due to the fact your femoral head is cut off, you loose about one inch of length to your leg. He did explain the length of the leg is modified to correct what has been lost, however, because of this, hip replacements have a tendency to 'pop out of socket'. Dr. Brooks said if I were in my late 70's, early 80's and ready for a rocking chair, he would have to suggest hip replacement.
My age and activity level does not warrant a hip replacement. With me keeping as much of my femoral head as possible, length of leg is not a factor, it will not change. Dr. Brooks explained hip resurfacing was like taking a hat off your head, not cutting the entire head off to get rid of the hat! He also explained resurfacing was like getting your tooth capped. He would be grinding down the femoral head with a special tool and the BHR device fits right over it like a tooth fitting over the old ground down tooth. Also, by having hip resurfacing,  down the road when I'm old and really decrepit, I'd be able to get a hip replacement if something were to fail. 
The Femoral Head After It Is Ground Down
It was explained to me the procedure will take about 1 1/2 hours. I will be given a spinal, along with a sedative to put me to sleep. The doctor will make a 6 - 8 inch incision to do this work, so I will have a good size scar when he is done with this procedure. After I am released to recovery, I will have to be watched for thrombosis (the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel) which is the biggest risk factor with this surgery. They will get me up and about, as soon as possible. I will be in the hospital for at least 4 - 5 days, depending on how I am doing. Physical Therapist, as well as Occupational Therapists will work with me until my release. I will be sent home with crutches and will have to use them for 6 weeks.

I will be wearing a tight leg stocking and taking medication to prevent a blood clot. Two weeks after my surgery I will be getting an ultra sound of the hip and leg, checking for thrombosis. Physical Therapy will continue for me and after the 6 week period, I will be able to swim, bike and walk to get back in shape. It will take 1 year for the bone to fully form around the stem and head of the BHR device. After my year is up, I will be able to go back to running, playing tennis, hiking and skiing. 

The most important piece of information I received is the leg pain will be gone. I have noticed, since April, I have walked differently to compensate for the pain in my left leg. My stride is different which makes my back ache. I do not stand tall any longer, if I slouch just a bit the pain I carry with me is relieved a bit. My good posture has also suffered.

Do the benefits out weigh the risks? Absolutely. I'm looking forward to getting back to my normal lifestyle. I've missed hiking this year with my husband and boys, tennis, walks with the dog, basketball in the backyard, long walks on the beach and yoga with my husband. 

We should all remember that the life we live is all about the quality. I want to spend quality time with my family, not sit around watching them or have them bow out of an activity because I can no longer participate. I'm not only doing this for me but for my husband and children.

So, the count down begins and I look forward to what lies ahead of me. Another new chapter in my book, let's just hope it's a good one without any twists, turns or surprises!


Susan Tidwell said...

wow, a big step! hope all goes well and you are out there hiking again soon.

Marlene said...

Sounds like a much better plan than a replacement. I will be thinking of you and wishing you well. I am sure all will turn out are still young and in very good shape. Will pray for the very best outcome there is.


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