Jeff Wiegand 9/23/06 Dr. Su
I am used to living a very active life. I like to hike and be outdoors. I play squash and tennis. In my younger days, I played varsity squash at Harvard College and played number 3 on the team when we won the National Intercollegiate Squash Team Championship in 1976.
Video taken October 2009 - 3 years post op
I was diagnosed with an arthritic left hip and avascular necrosis in late 2004 at the age of 50. The condition got worse and I could barely tie my left shoe and had to go through contortions just to get my left sock on! I had to go on diclofenac (NSAID Voltaren) for the pain. The diagnosing orthopedic surgeon did not tell me about resurfacing even when I asked him if any advances or new technologies were coming that might allow me to avoid a total hip replacement. As time passed, getting a good night's sleep became more difficult and I had almost constant pain or ache in my left hip. Needless to say, I had lost my active athletic life - squash, tennis and hiking the Adirondack High Peaks.
FIRST HEARD ABOUT RESURFACING
In April of 2006, Richard Millman told me he was going in May to Chennai, India, to have Dr. Vijay Bose resurface his hip. That was the first time I heard about resurfacing, but I immediately realized I should seriously consider the procedure. The surfacehippy YahooGroup was a most helpful resource. In June of 2006 (after Richard's successful surgery in Chennai) I met with Dr. Edwin Su at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC to discuss resurfacing. I had learned from a Birmingham Hip implant salesman in New Jersey that Dr. Su at HSS had studied with Dr. Koen De Smet in Belgium (where I thought I would have had the surgery) and had already done about 100 resurfacings in the US, prior to official FDA approval (resurfacing had just been approved by the FDA in May 2006).
I had the resurfacing done on Saturday, September 23, 2006 at HSS. The hospital is really well-run and had a phenomenally low infection rate. They are very careful and meticulous. When I first woke up in the recovery room, despite the generalized pain in my left leg, I could tell that the arthritic hip pain was all gone. What a relief!
I left the hospital the following Tuesday. My left leg was like a dead weight and very sensitive, but with care I was able to get around the house. I had at-home physical therapy for 4 weeks, gradually building up to walking 2-3 miles around my neighborhood with my wife Kathryn. The most difficult part of the early recovery was sleeping. For about the first two weeks post-op I could not roll over at night and mostly had to sleep uncomfortably on my back. I found that I could arrange several large pillows that would help me sleep better.
At four weeks, I resumed commuting to work and started out-patient physical therapy at Westchester Sports Physical Therapy in Scarsdale. The physical therapy is extremely important and should be done religiously. On my own, I added a 20-30 minute routine on the elliptical before each of my PT sessions. I think the elliptical workout really enhanced the effectiveness of the official PT routines. At my six month check up, Dr. Su was amazed at my high degree of flexibility.
RESUMPTION OF ACTIVE LIFE
I resumed some light physical activities at about three months post-op and at six months started playing pretty rigorous squash. I would discourage any acceleration of that time frame. During the first year, I experienced some occasional aches and pains, mostly as my legs, both left and right, got used to the increased activity after spending several years inactive.
Later in the first year, I found it necessary to spend some very modest amount of time jogging on a treadmill to toughen up my left hip some more.
SQUASH AND HIGH PEAKS
Now I regularly play squash, recreationally, and I have resumed hiking the Adirondack High Peaks. Last summer I did two demanding wilderness day hikes - 13 miles up Rocky Peak and Giant (5,300 foot total ascent) and a long trek over Hough and Dix from Elk Lake to Rte 73, about 14 miles. My operated hip is at 100% functionality.
It is very clear from my experience and the experience of many others that anyone who is young or active and facing total hip replacement should investigate resurfacing.