Well, as some of you may have heard, it looks like I’ll have to undergo hip replacement surgery very soon. I’ve been putting it off for a long time, and I’m now in a significant amount of pain every time I want to move my hip…which is pretty often as you can imagine. It’s time…
On the football playing field in 1963, I was hit by a cross-body check to my lower legs, resulting in a fractured tibula/fibula to my left leg. The long-term result was an injured nerve which prevented my big toe from dorsi flexion (pulling the toe upwards towards the shin). Thereafter, I walked with an extra high step to prevent stubbing my toe.
From 1967- 1977, my martial arts career saw me practising high round house kicks to the face literally thousands of times per week. I could kick someone in the face with the top of my left foot before they could blink an eye.
The cartilage in my left leg has slowly disintegrated until there is nothing left to keep the leg bone from grinding into my socket causing pain, some days worse than others.
I have consulted with a doctor in Canada as well as a surgeon here in Guadalajara, Mexico, and they both agree that a hip replacement is in order, if in fact not over-due.
Questions to be asked
- How many hip replacements does the doctor perform each year? One of my clients had a knee replacement by a surgeon who did over 300 such procedures per year. A dozen or so is not sufficient to give me full confidence in that doctor.
- What is the point of entry for the replacement? There are three areas that the surgeon can operate from. Cutting into the front of the leg or quadriceps can damage precious muscles that will take time to heal. The rear entry or the gluteus muscles are a large powerful group of muscles that again will need much rehabilitation to function normally. The best and least invasive is the side entry or illiotibial band, a long band of gristal extending from the knee to the hip.
- What prosthesis is best for me? Opinions vary as to the best type of prosthesis from the Zimmer to the Mathys to the Stryker with the Zimmer winning out as proclaimed by both my Canadian and Mexican doctors. The Zimmer is also more expensive than others but will become part of your body.
- Which hospital will I be going to for the surgery? Although most hospitals are reliable, some are more expensive and for the short duration may not be of significant value. When I had my appendicitis surgery performed last November, I wound up in a five-star hospital which is where my surgeon operated from, and due to the emergency, there was not an option available.
- What exercises should I be doing to ensure a strong hip structure for speedy recovery? Exercises to work the surrounding hip muscles need to be employed. The quads or front of the leg, as well as the hamstrings or upper portion of the rear of the leg must be conditioned. The inside leg muscles or adductors and the outside or abductors are very important and often neglected muscle groups. Having a strong and muscular hip structure will aid in a your recovery.
- What exercises should I do to aid the healing process? You will be limited at least for the first few months what you are able to do. No squatting below 90 degrees, which means a bumper seat on the toilet or other places of sitting. Do not pull your knees together, dead lift an object from the floor or over-head lift a heavy weight for fear of a dislocation. A knowledgeable physiotherapist will guide you as to the do’s and don’t’s of movements for at least the first few months.
- What are the costs involved? If you live north of the border and are covered by medical insurance, then the cost may not concern you directly. If, on the other hand, you cannot wait at the end of a long list or live in another country, then the cost contributes to the equation. I have had estimates by one doctor that ranged from $130,000 to $215,000 Pesos (Mexican) which is a great divergence. My current doctor has named a set fee of $11,000 USD. That gave me more confidence, as well as the fact that he is the head of the orthopedics sports medicine clinic in Guadalajara
Many individuals will go into a surgery without ever asking some or all of these questions and rely solely on the advice of their family doctor who may not be hip to the joint replacement solution.
It is up to you to know the answers; don’t shoot from the hip. Take aim and score a bull’s eye.Google+