A total hip replacement surgery at 70 might seem a little redundant for some, but at 70, I had a total hip replacement of my right hip because it was causing me a lot of pain. I couldn’t do the things I loved to do, nor could I properly spend time with my beloved grandchildren. This was 4 months ago, and here is my review.
It took me consulting 2 different orthopaedic doctors over 5 years before I gathered the courage to consider a hip replacement surgery.
I have ankylosing spondylitis. It is a type of arthritis in the joints of the spine, and it affected the way I stand or walk.
Before the hip replacement surgery, I couldn’t walk nor stand longer than an hour or two. This affected me for years, restricting my mobility and limited the physical activities that I could do.
Diagram of ankylosing spondylitis (source)
When I could once go for my usual walks, going to and from work, I had to rely on a walking stick for support. But when the orthopaedic doctors I consulted in the past suggested a hip replacement surgery to combat the pain in my hips, I hesitated.
In the end, I put the surgery off out of fear and worry about the downtime involved, and also partly because of any additional pain it might cause.
The pain eventually got worse. Where painkillers and icing of the hips no longer work, I decided that it was time to do something about it.
An X-ray scan of hip prior to the surgery, worn-out cartilage in the right hip.
My daughter realized the pain I was in, and kindly brought me to another orthopaedic surgeon who she heard from friends and colleagues was an excellent and experienced surgeon. The fact that he specializes in hip and knee replacement surgeries made me feel a little better about seeing him.
How was the consultation for total hip replacement surgery like?
To sum it up, the consultation went really well. Dr Mizan Marican, my orthopaedic surgeon, was patient to provide a clear explanation of what a hip replacement surgery would be like. He exuded a kind and gentle personality, and I asked him all the questions I had about the surgery and what to expect.
My fears and worries dissipated when he shared more details about the operation. He shared the method with which he would be using in the surgery, namely the direct anterior approach (DAA), how it differs from other conventional approaches, and its benefits.
Apparently, it minimizes the risks of damage to the muscles during the operation, and with the muscles unaffected, I would be able to move comfortably in a day or two. It was quicker than I expected, and any initial reluctance that I had about the procedure’s downtime disappeared.
I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it would take only a few hours, and that I would only be under general anaesthesia (GA) during the surgery. So long as I wouldn’t feel the pain of the operation, I agreed with the plan.
Hip replacement surgery review: Post-op Day 1
I had an X-ray scan taken of my hip before the surgery, and after administering the anaesthesia, my hips soon fell numb and I could not feel anything.
The operation seemed to have gone very well, because I still didn’t feel any pain in my hip after I was moved to my ward. Dr Mizan showed me some scans of the procedure, while explaining to me how the implant was placed.
Left: Reaming of the acetabulum in the hip. Middle: Implantation of the cup. Right: Implantation of the femoral stem.
Even more surprisingly, I was able to stand and walk around my hospital bed within hours of the operation and was discharged the very next day!
The new hip implants took some getting used to, and I was to continue with simple exercises at home to strengthen my muscles again. There were also physiotherapy sessions I had to attend on a fortnightly basis, which were really good for me.
One week after the operation
With the rehabilitation routine and regular exercises, I felt confident enough to walk around the house unaided after about a week. The wound at the site of the operation was neatly done and didn’t look messy at all. It healed just after 2 weeks!
With my improved mobility, I was also able to go about my daily physical activities like walking in the garden with my wife. It is a fulfilling experience, and I hope my experience will encourage others to consider seeking professional treatment to cure them of the hip pain.
If done professionally, it is truly a life-changing procedure.
Image: After the hip replacement surgery
I saw my orthopaedic surgeon for a follow-up appointment after that and thanked him for giving me a new lease of life with the hip replacement surgery. Although I am in my early 70s, I now have a better quality of life and could enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren without worrying about the pain in my hips.