Considering a hip or joint replacement? Welcome to my world. I’m an active adventure, baby boomer travel writer. I love to travel, but my hips appear to be on strike. In late November of 2012 I had a total anterior hip replacement of my left hip. I was 51 years old at the time of surgery. Fast forward 2.5 years later and my right hip is failing – x-rays don’t lie. I wrote a four-part series of blog posts explaining what to expect with anterior hip replacement surgery and offer travel tips.
Like you, I had hoped to put off joint replacement surgery as long as possible. However when my friend, who had endured four complete hip replacements, suggested that the time is now, I made an appointment with my surgeon and proceeded with anterior hip replacement surgery. As this was not my first rodeo, I knew what to expect with this type of procedure. I didn’t need to take the class offered by my hospital on what to expect pre-surgery again. In fact, my second hip replacement surgery went like clockwork and my recovery from surgery was much faster.
According to my surgeon Louay Toma, M.D. of Muir Orthopaedic Specialists, “three things affect the second surgery in making a faster recovery.”
1. The second hip is typically not in quite as bad of shape as the first hip because the patient doesn’t wait as long for a replacement, thus less muscle atrophy.
2. The patient knows what to expect with hip replacement surgery, resulting in an easier recovery.
3. If the initial hip replacement is good, the next hip replacement is a perfectly matched set.
I found all of Dr. Toma’s explanations to hold true with my second hip replacement. During my left hip replacement 2.5 years ago, I came to my first follow appointment with a walker. On this recent appointment to have my staples removed from my right hip, I arrived at my appointment using only a cane. I had stopped taking pain medication the day after I arrived home from the hospital and I was cleared to drive after my initial assessment. (You need to be able to easily move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal without hesitation and not be under the influence of pain medication.)
After my second visit with the home health physical therapist, I was cleared to walk without the assistance of the cane. On my third and final visit with in-home pt, I was cleared to begin out patient physical therapy. More on physical therapy insider tips after hip replacement surgery on my next blog post.
If you live in California, you’ll want to participate in the California Joint Replacement Registry (CJRR). Similar to an automobile recall program, sometimes joint replacement parts are recalled. While I sincerely hope that none of us ever experience an artificial joint replacement failure, my friend did have her hip replacements recalled. I’d rather have CJRR have the ability to track me down and replace the problem than remain anonymous. For additional insider tips follow @Nancydbrown on Twitter and @MuirOrthopaedic.
Article written by, video and photos courtesy of Nancy D. Brown of What a Trip, Travels from Northern California. I’m not a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. All opinions are my own.