Wednesday, January 30, 2013

One year later

Here we are, one year post surgery.
And what can I tell you?  Except I haven't truly been able to enjoy the benefits of having had my hip replaced.
Why, you ask?  Because I've been plagued with the very issue I had hoped would NOT be a problem:  trochanteric bursitis.
The issue is not a new one for me.  I've struggled with bursitis in both hips for over 30 years. (Well, the right hip for that long; the left hip not quite so long.)
In fact, I had had a discussion with my then-family doctor prior to pursuing the hip replacement surgery. I was concerned that I would go through all the agony of surgery and recovery, just to continue to be plagued with the bursitis that was so much a bane of my existence.  He assured me that that would not be the case.
Even drew me a picture.  When they removed the hip to replace it, they took the bursa too.  End of problem.
So, when it came time to have my surgery, I never discussed that aspect of it with the surgeon.
Fast forward to eight weeks post-op.
The physiotherapist told me that she "thinks" I have some bursitis going on in my left hip.
"How can that be?" I queried.  "I don't have a bursa there any more."
"You'd better discuss that with your surgeon," she replied.  "I'm fairly certain that's bursitis."
When next I saw the surgeon, I asked if he had removed the bursa.
"No," he replied, "I incised through it.  I don't excise it unless it's inflamed when I'm there."
So I told him the story of my history, and asked him if he'd have removed it had he known.
"Yes," he told me.
"Would you be willing to go back in and get it?" I asked him.
"You don't want to go through that again," he replied.
Well, now I do.
The bursitis has gotten so bad that I absolutely want him to go back and get it.  The bursa has been pulled forward by the scar tissue and is quite prominently noticeable on my hip.  Causing considerable pain and greatly affecting my ability to walk.  That in turn is causing further problems with my right hip.
Since I can't take any anti-inflammatories, we are currently keeping it at bay with prednisone.  Not a good long-term option.
My now-family doctor has given me a letter to take to my surgeon, encouraging him to perform a bursectomy on both hips (although the right hip will wait until it is replaced).
The scar from the surgery has healed beautifully.
The mobility of the joint is as it should be.
On the surface, everything vis-a-vis my hip replacement surgery was a success.
We recently visited some friends, one of whom had had her hip replaced some six months prior to my surgery.  She developed bursitis.  (Hers was treated and disappeared within two months of onset.)
Her surgeon told her that 20% of patients who have hip replacement surgery will go on to develop bursitis.
So I ask, if that is a known side-effect, why isn't it one of the in-take questions prior to surgery?  Lord knows they cover enough other ground with their in-take questions.  (Seems to me if you already suffer from bursitis, chances are that much greater that you will develop the problem following surgery.)
During the surgery in-take process, had I been asked if bursitis was an issue, and the discussion had happened about my history, perhaps I wouldn't have been put through the past six months of extra pain and discomfort.  I could have been enjoying the benefits of having had my hip replaced.
But for the lack of a simple question.

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