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Anterior Hip Replacement Part 1: This is the ONLY way to have this surgery!!

This is the picture of of the fabulous Dr. that gave me back my life! Dr. William Sima. And this is the story of my Hip Replacement Journey......

Some of you know that I have had a problem for the last 2 years. In February of 2011, I began having quite a bit of pain in my right hip. My first Dr. said it was bursitis and treated it with antibiotics. No change. Then I went to an orthopedic Dr. and he ordered MRI's. That's when we found it.... a really bad Labral Tear to my hip socket. In addition, I had bone spurs and arthritis in the area and he told me the best way to fix this problem was a total hip replacement. 

WHAT??!! I was only 54 years old and I knew how limiting hip replacements could be. So I set out on a mission to "fix" my problem. This involved vitamins, chiropractic visits, eventually Physical Therapy and acupuncture.... all to no avail. Not only was none of this helping, but my pain was ramping up. There wasn't a day of my life that I wasn't in some kind of pain. Pain changes who you are, what you think and how you behave. Gradually, over the two years, my life started becoming smaller and smaller. I couldn't clean my house, cook, garden, play with my grandkids, grocery shop or even enjoy those lovely walks on the beach. The one GOOD thing I learned to do was knit, but basically, all I did was sit in my recliner, watch TV and knit. Not good for someone my age that had been so active. And even doing that did not insure I wouldn't have pain. I was grumpy, depressed and withdrawn with no hope.

My reasons for waiting so long to do surgery were:

  1. Pain 

  2. Rehabilitation Time

  3. Life span of replacements & Fear of what they were made of

  4. Approaches - At this time I only knew of lateral and posterior approach and my local Dr. did mainly posterior approach. 

  5. My grandma had hip replacement and never walked without a cane again!

  6. Post surgery limitations

My pain and limitations where becoming too much for me and now depression was setting in. I knew I had to do something, BUT WHAT???

And then, on a beautiful Tuesday morning at my local Starbucks, I met my Angel.... quite by accident, or not if you see things the way I do!! My friend and I meet every Tuesday for a nice little breakfast and some lively chit chat. Her knee had been bothering her and she was taking up a chair from the next table over to rest her leg on. Over comes a man and almost takes the chair out from under her leg and then realizes it. She told him she was in pain from her knee and he said, "Oh, I know pain! I was in pain for years trying to figure out what was wrong with me. The Drs. thought it was my back. But no matter how they treated me, nothing fixed my problem. Eventually I was in a wheelchair and unable to walk at all. That's when I found out I had hip problems and needed hip replacement surgery."

I hear myself boldly say, "Oh, I need to talk to YOU!" Now anyone who knows me, knows I don't do that. I'm very reserved but out pops those words!

He proceeded to tell me about Dr. Sima, and orthopedic Dr. practicing out of Templeton, CA at the Twin Cities Hospital that does Anterior Approach Hip Replacements. He lived up that way and went to a seminar being put on about hip replacements and decided to have his done that way. First he had one and then not more than 2 months later he had the other one done. TWO MONTH LATER!!?? Is that possible?? How do you recover from that kind of surgery that fast?? Come to find out, anterior approach surgery has THE quickest recovery time of all the different approaches. Muscles are moved out of the way rather than cut and as the patient gets up and down and moves around, they are continually be strengthened after the surgery. He said he was walking the day of surgery, doing stairs the next day and going home on day 3!!

"Ok, you've got me there but what about the pain? Tell me the truth.... what kind of pain were you in?"

"No pain," he says, "just kind of a numb feeling." Even right after surgery! Of course you do GET pain medicine and each person is different when it comes to what you need but, he said he didn't use anything shortly after he got home. 

"What about restrictions.... things you can't do after a surgery like this...." 

He says, "You can do anything! There aren't a bunch of restrictions again because of the approach." And he gets up and does a little jig for me and its such fluid movement, it appears he NEVER had a problem! Doing my research, I found out that the chance of having your hip come out of the socket are less than 1/3 of a percent! Your muscles are strengthened by daily activities and physical therapy and help to hold the replacement in firmly. Now this sounded GREAT to me because I love to ride my motorcycle, horses when I get the chance and be really physical.

"Well, does everything feel right, you know in the right place?"

Come to find out, there is a special operating table called the HANA table that not only allows the replacement to be done through a much smaller incision but x-ray can be done and the "new parts" are precisely put in. Because of the precision, there are fewer, if any, problems with leg length issues and hips being out of alignment. You walk quicker, better, faster!!

And the best words out of My Angel's mouth, "Don't wait any longer. You go home and call today. You will be so happy you did! Don't be afraid at all." And with that, he went to pick up his car that was getting smogged and that was that. I didn't even get his name!! BUT.... I did go home and make that call.......THAT DAY!! 

3 weeks later I met with the Dr., had new x-rays done right there in the office and saw the damage that 2 years of walking had done. My leg was actually shorter by about 1/2 in.! I knew I had to get this done and now I really felt like I was in the right place! My husband had vacation time coming up within a short month and I figured he could spend it taking care of me for the first week out of the hospital. So I scheduled the surgery for the week prior to his vacation on a Tuesday morning. Then I went home and started getting my prescriptions ready, my bedroom ready and myself ready for what was to come. For those few short weeks, my pain increased so much and my mobility was greatly reduced. I was trying to stay off of any pain meds (Aleve) and it was at this point that I realized my timing was perfect. While I was waiting, I was doing research, trying to find other who had the surgery, watching YouTube videos and the actual surgery (I wouldn't really recommend that unless you are VERY curious like I was! Sometimes it's better to just NOT know what is going on!) My favorite was the story of Mary Lou Retton.  Our stories are so similar and watching her in that pain, I could really identify!! 

Just a week before my scheduled surgery, I received three phone calls that almost, ALMOST made me change my mind!



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