Pictures and Notes from My Total Hip Replacement
Updates on My Progress
My Total Knee Replacements
Hip and Knee Replacement Links
Visit the Message Board
Information on Rheumatoid Arthritis
Whether you have had a hip replacement, commonly called total hip arthroplasty and abbreviated THR or THA,
or you've been told you might need one, you've come to the right place. I have had both knees replaced, and
on Dec. 28, 2004, I had my left hip replaced as well. (Note: read the updates page and you'll learn how I ended up with my right hip replaced too, on April 15, 2005.)
On these pages, you can read my personal story and check out various links where you can find more information and
places to share your experiences with others. Check here first for the latest update.
It is very important to remember that this story represents my
personal experience. Each patient is different, and not everyone will recover at the same rate. Please read a
variety of stories and do plenty of research before deciding to have any type of joint replacement. Consider talking to more than one
surgeon, and even to nurses and physical therapists who have experience with joint replacement. No one can guarantee
you will have results as good as mine have been — although I believe with lots of research and care, everyone has a
great chance at a great result.
Please remember that none of the information on any of these pages is
intended to serve as medical advice. I am not a medical professional and am only sharing my own personal account.
Please consult your doctor before trying any treatment for your knee condition!
I've set up a message board where you can ask questions of others who have had total knee or total hip
replacements and share your own story with others. Click here to
visit! This message board is provided free by Delphi. You do have to register the first time you visit, but
registration is easy and free. This message board has become an amazing community of supportive and informative
folks! You will find some information on hip and shoulder replacement and other types of orthopedic surgery, although by far the majority of visitors
are "knee people."
Visit the "On Our Feet" Joint Replacement Message
Some recent topics of discussion:
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Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about my hip surgery (which I will add to over time):
Who performed the surgery for you?
Dr. Larry J. Messina of the Bone and Joint Clinic in Baton Rouge, La., with assistance from Dr. Joseph E. Broyles, III.
How old are you? Did your surgeon try to make you wait before having your surgery? Why did you decide to have it now?
I had just turned 35 when I had my THR. My case is somewhat unique, and unlike a patient with osteoarthritis or
some other condition with treatment options, there was really no question of waiting. I have rheumatoid arthritis, and have been taking corticosteroids for many years; the medicine
has made my bones extremely brittle. Essentially I have severe osteoporosis, and eventually I developed several stress
fractures. In November 1999, the surgeon I was seeing at the time (in Austin, Texas) performed an operation to put
a pin in my upper left femur, in order to stabilize a stress fracture there and help it to heal. Unfortunately, my
bone was so brittle that the pin actually made the fracture worse.
It would take pages to detail all of the ups and downs I went through after that trying to repair my fractured leg. You
can read some of the story on the updates page of my knee replacement website. The
upshot is that eventually, my surgeon and I agreed that a total hip replacement was the way to go. The procedure
removed the entire section of femur that has refused to heal for so long.
Did your doctor tell you how long the new hip will last? Did he tell you that you
may have to have more surgery (revision surgery) later in life?
I am acutely aware, especially with my long history of hardware failures, that no manmade implant lasts forever. But
I have been told that my hip could last as long as I live if I'm careful and don't abuse it. I'm just hoping for the
best and remaining positive, as I always do.
Why did you have to go back for a second surgery? Is it normal to have so much trouble with a hip replacement?
No, it is not normal to have so much trouble. Many hip replacements go very smoothly. It has become almost a routine
operation for healthy, active patients, but my situation was unique because I had the fracture and the old hardware
that had to be removed. My surgeon used stainless steel cables wrapped around the femur to add extra stability to my hip implant. (The X-ray
shown here is not mine, but it shows the use of a cable that is somewhat similar to the ones my surgeon used.) About
ten days after the surgery, one of the cables slipped loose. It caused some internal bleeding and had to be fixed for
that reason and also because the stability of the cables was still needed for me to heal.
Needless to say I was very upset at first about having to go back into surgery just two weeks after my original
THR, but the second surgery went fine, and I have recuperated well from it. My doctor prescribed a special brace
that helps protect my hip and keeps me from doing certain movements that would put stress on it. I have pictures of
myself in the brace that I will upload as soon as they are scanned.
Do you think I (or my friend or relative) should have a total hip replacement?
I can't possibly recommend the best course of action for any other
person. I have no medical training at all — I'm just a fellow patient who has been through the experience. I do
have some words of advice, however. Pick a doctor that you trust and then follow his or her recommendation. If you
are unsure, seek a second opinion. After
all, if you don't trust your doctor explicitly, why would you let him cut you open? Second, do your homework. You
cannot do too much research on this decision! Surf the web, talk to doctors, nurses, physical therapists, people who
have had the surgery, and read all you can before going through with it. Knowledge really is power in this case.
I will add to this section as more questions come up that may be of interest to a lot of site visitors. In the
meantime, click here to read the full story of my hip replacement and see some pictures
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If you'd like to contact me, or get support from some of the many other people
who have undergone this surgery, please visit the
On Our Feet Joint Replacement Forum