THR Pain - 2 years post THR

JanD

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I had THR in June 2020 & have never been happy with the results. After the initial 6 week recovery period, I was able to do most things (walk, stairs, etc.) but struggled lifting my leg & always had a sensation of pinching 'tightness' in the hip/upper thigh area, like I had a baseball where my hip joint used to be. I would also experience pain & aching, especially during/after activity. At all my post op appointments, the surgeon assured me that my implant looked 'great' & that my surgery was successful. He had no explanation for, nor did he seem particularly interested in, the discomfort I felt.

Notably, when he came to see me immediately after my surgery, he told me that he had struggled getting the acetabular component to fit, but that he had 'made it work'. He didn't go into detail on what that meant & I was still too groggy from surgery to ask.

For the past 60+ days, I've been having an increased level of pain & have developed a limp. I am also unable to sleep on either side. I went to see another surgeon in the same practice, since my surgeon has retired. I've gone through numerous diagnostic tests (X-rays, MRIs of hip & lumbar spine, bone scan, blood work & a bone length study) which have all been 'normal'. The 2nd surgeon looked at the notes from the THR surgery & saw that apparently I was 'between sizes' for the implanted acetabular cup & the original surgeon opted for the larger size, rather than smaller. He acknowledges that the cup size may be the cause of my pain, but says that revision surgery would be very complicated, because it is difficult to replace a large cup with a smaller one & that the femoral stem would have to be much longer to compensate. He said that he couldn't be sure it would resolve my issue & that I might be even worse off than now. I am going for a third opinion tomorrow with another surgeon (unfortunately, he is also within the same practice because that's how my health insurance works).

I'm posting this thread to see if anyone can give me some guidance and/or questions to ask at tomorrow's visit.
 
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Layla

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I’m so sorry for the pain and misfortune you’re dealing with. If I’m understanding correctly you’re unable to see a surgeon outside of the office of the retired surgeon who performed your THR? Are the second and third opinion surgeon’s revision specialists? After all you‘ve endured, please be sure to deal with a reputable revision specialist for your third, and any additional opinions on resolving this. I’m going to tag @Jamie from Admin and see if she has anything additional to offer.
@JanD
 
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JanD

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Thank you, Layla. Yes, I'm insured by Kaiser Permanente, so I can only see their doctors. I don't know whether either Surgeon # 2 or Surgeon # 3 are revision specialists, but I will certainly ask that question at my appointment tomorrow. I appreciate your response.
 

Eman85

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Your insurance will cover Dr.'s in their network but I would gladly pay for a consultation with an OS I felt confident with to get to the bottom of the problem.
 

djklaugh

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@JanD You can check surgeons specialties through your Kaiser online site. Yes it is a bit difficult with Kaiser to find that information and one is rather limited to who is on staff but in my experience (I have Kaiser in Oregon - been insured with them for over 40 years and worked for Kaiser for 24+ years though not in orthopedics) Kaiser is really good at hiring excellent surgeons.

@Eman85 With HMO insurance the problem with going out side of the network for a consultation, is that if you liked the surgeon your insurance would NOT pay for that person to do any surgery. And that is horribly expensive.
 

Jamie

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Generally, with Kaiser or any HMO, you can see surgeons other than those in the one clinic where you are. They just must be within the Kaiser network. It might mean you would need to drive a bit to get a totally independent review of your case, but it would be worth it. You need a surgeon who has successfully done this procedure multiple times. If your surgeons cannot say ‘yes’ to that question, keep looking.

Do some research within the Kaiser website to find a couple of options for consultations. I would love to help you with this, but Kaiser does not allow non-members access to their doctor Information. You want a surgeon who does hip revisions or adult reconstruction surgery.

Another option to consider is to look at other medical plans during Open Season and change to a PPO plan that allows you to choose your doctor.
 

danelady

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Oh wow, I can't tell you how bad I feel for you, not to mention more than a little angry. The baseball in the hip!! yes, I thought the exact same thing!! Someone left a BASEBALL inside me after the surgery!

I have a question for you. Was your hip already painful and in really bad shape and that's why you had the THR? Do you remember what they said the risks would be? I'm going to say this and I don't care who don't like it. Years ago I found a new ortho and asked if I could get a cortisone shot in my hip because it was getting sore again. I'd had one 5 years earlier and it lasted all that time. The dr told me my x-rays showed I was bone on bone and my hip was going, so why don't I just get a new hip installed. My heart sank, I told him I didn't want to quit workin, I still had plenty I wanted to do (I was 62 at the time). He had me look at the people in the waiting room and said they all had their hips replaced and were living their best life afterwards. Well, shut my mouth and sign me up! I 'walked' out of the hospital the day after surgery and told everyone that if I ever won the lottery I would have ALL my joints replaced! I knew that there were risks: I could possibly need a transfusion, get an infection...or die. But all I remember him saying was how advanced medicine had gotten doing these procedures and how much my life would be greatly improved.

I realize no one put a gun to my head to get this operation but I definitely should have done just the teensiest bit of research instead of just thinking...'well, he seems to know what he's doing'. Lol, yeah...I was clueless. If I knew that 5 years from that day I would be in agony and unable to walk I might have said 'maybe I should think on it more. In this past year, which by the way has been the worst year of my life, I have talked to countless people just in my tiny little town who have aunts, grandmothers, moms and friends who are dealing with painful failed joint replacements. Why? I totally get that some people NEED that operation but I feel like a lot of us are just used as practice guinea pigs. The way I finally saw how the dr who did my revision last January let me know it might not work, was when I sent for my hospital records and came across the consent form that was put in the middle of a stack of papers, each page placed in front of me to sign and stacked in another pile.
Under a whole list of points there was also written 'no warranties, no guarantees'. Is it that difficult to maybe spend 5 minutes with me and explain that? 5 minutes of his extremely valuable time, yes very valuable time, as opposed to the rest of my life spent in agony?
So they are going back in August 15. What was I gonna do, refuse? Not one other dr answered my calls. I am going to ask questions as well. I will want to know the make, model, lot number and manufacturer of my new custom fit tri-flange cup/cage for one thing. I really would like us to have a good rapport, I want us to work together and with respect...but that is a 2 way street. We shall see.
 
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