Think you may need a hip replacement? I’ve had two and here is what I experienced.My first hip replacement was in December 2006 and was performed by an orthopedic surgeon who is now retired. I had lived with pain daily and had put off seeing a doctor so long that my hip was spontaneously collapsing--I really did not want surgery. I finally saw a doctor after I stepped on a sweet-gum ball causing my foot to roll and me to stumble creating intense hip pain. At that time the only procedure in the local area was the posterior hip replacement. After surgery, I went to a live-in therapy center for a week. I am very pain tolerant, but the post surgery process of getting into and out of bed and up and down from a chair was really painful. At this facility I was provided tools to use for putting on socks and picking up things from the floor. I was provided an elevated toilet seat as well. As soon as I was able to navigate steps I progressed to outpatient therapy for about 5 weeks. The recovery took time and was painful for the first few months. After about one year, I had good use of my new hip with no pain.
Ten years later I realized my other hip needed to be replaced. The pain started as minor but progressed over six to eight months to where I could not walk without limping and was in pain most of the time, even in bed. I was unable to stand for long or to perform chores without aggravating the pain. Getting in and out of vehicles and navigating steps was difficult. I used essential oils, over the counter products and even a prescriptive compound to alleviate the pain. Helped very little--just basically didn’t work as these products did not fix the underlying problem. I did not want to risk injury by waiting until my hip was collapsing. I wanted to end this painful existence right away. I researched current techniques for hip replacement and discovered there was an anterior hip replacement process that was less invasive, less painful and had quicker recovery. I was on board. The only doctor I found in the Montgomery, Alabama area that performed the anterior procedure was Dr. Brock Howell. I read his bio, which is impressive, and it led me to make an appointment with him resulting in my second hip being replaced in December 2016.
My understanding is the anterior approach does not require the muscles and tendons to be cut which makes for less pain and faster healing. Dr. Howell’s approach to anesthesia is also much better when performing the anterior method. After surgery on a Wednesday, I was able to walk the next day using a walker and I was released on Friday noon to go home. Hooray, no live-in therapy center, no extra tools, no elevated toilet seat.
I had outpatient therapy two times per week for a month at Southern Orthopedics. My pain was so minimal I did not require pain pills. As I stated, I am fairly pain tolerant. Two of my friends have since had anterior hip replacement and they did use pain medications but both had positive results from the surgery. My recovery was very fast. Five days after surgery I was walking without a cane. It is now 11 months post operative and my hip is great. I have normal use. It is so good to be able to do normal things without pain--like walking, bending, getting in and out of vehicles, gardening, climbing stairs and standing for long periods of time. Anyone experiencing hip pain should seriously consider the anterior hip replacement. It is far superior to the posterior method—at least it was for me.Living without pain is priceless.
Thank you, Dr. Howell, for your expertise in the anterior hip replacement field. I appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions and explain things so that I felt informed and confident about the surgery.