Artificial hips

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Forum topic by uffitze posted 05-18-2010 08:37 PM 1966 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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199 posts in 2923 days

05-18-2010 08:37 PM

Hey guys -

I got a bit of bad news yesterday, and am curious to know if anybody out there has experience with (either owning or installing) an artificial hip.

The news … the pain that I’ve been having in my hips for the past year or so is arthritic (and I’ve developed a cyst in one of my hips). Due to the way my body is engineered, I’m going to be needing artificial hips sooner or later. Unfortunately, I’m on the younger side at 38, and apparently the hardware they put in there has a life span of about 20 years.

Anyway, I’m curious if anybody out there has any experience with these things. (And, yes, I realize this is a woodworking forum.)

21 replies so far

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3142 days

#1 posted 05-18-2010 09:02 PM

Sorry for the news.

FWIW, I used to know a guy—professional colleague—who LIVED to hike. He traveled all over the country to pretty epic treks.

In his early to mid-50’s, he developed severe arthritis in his hips, and was sidelined.

Bilateral hip replacement—from what he told me—gave him his life back. He traveled, a few months later, to Alaska for a month-long hike, to celebrate his recovery.

Best of luck !

-- -- Neil

View KTMM (Krunkthemadman)'s profile

KTMM (Krunkthemadman)

1055 posts in 3161 days

#2 posted 05-18-2010 09:43 PM

Sorry to hear it. Just to give you a bit of background, I personally feel your pain, in the arthritis way. I was diagnosed with a rare form of arthritis at 14, which affects hard tissue in joints, especially from the lower back down. I’m 27 now, and still walking. One doctor, more or less, told me that I should get used to a wheelchair, because I would be in one by this time.

As if that’s not bad enough, about two years ago I was in an accident on a scooter and broke my shoulder blade clean in half, straight down the middle. I also broke my clavicle and had a fracture that almost went into the rotator cuff. The orthopedic surgeon that treated me didn’t know what to say at first. He took my case to the board that was made up of himself and six other orthopedic surgeons. Three of them said do surgery and three said don’t. He told me his opinion was not to do surgery and that it was always an option later. His opinion was that if he did surgery and it didn’t work, I’d be the same as not having surgery. I decided not to have surgery, and have not regretted it one bit. I can tell when the weather changes now, and I lost about 2 degrees of movement, but that’s about it on the down side. I’m very grateful to be alive right now.

My first piece of advice, always get a second opinion when it’s something this major.

With that said, I have a brother in law that survived leukemia, Twice. The medications he was given have caused problems real similar, if not worse, than arthritis. With that said, he has had both hips replaced and has had a resurfacing surgery on one of his shoulders. All of this before he was thirty. He was told to expect to replace both hips in 12-15 years, and sooner if he gained weight. I know for a fact that he’s happy to be able to get around. The one noticeable thing about those hips he’s got, is the squeak when he puts all his weight on one leg and moves. A while back I handed him a can of WD-40 after he came walking in the room…..

The other piece of advice I can give you, and the doctor told my brother in law this, is that if you’re overweight, fix it before you have the hip replacement and make sure you stay that way afterward.

Best of luck to you, and you’ll be in our prayers.

-- Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Vince Lombardi

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3042 days

#3 posted 05-19-2010 12:26 AM

I can speak on the subject of knee replacement surgery and my remarks may be germane to hip replacement. First, I am told that with today’s technology it is reasonable to expect 30 years of service. Second, the recover is an ordeal. However, if you do not make a serious commitment to do the rehabilitation therapy you will greatly regret it. Finally, assuming you are truly committed to the rehabilitation therapy, you will look back on the surgery as one of the best things you ever did.

Once again, I speak as one familiar with knee replacement surgery – not hip replacement.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3861 days

#4 posted 05-19-2010 12:36 AM

I’m no doctor ut this is what I am told.

They have no serious concerns when replacing a hip on a 65, 70, 75 and up year old person because they likely will die before the new artificial hip wears out.

On younger people (like you) they will likely outlive the new/artificial hip which often means an amputation down the road. On the good side they have been experimenting with calcified coral and using it as a bone. because it is sterile the body will not reject it and because it is porous, bone tissue will grow through it.

Good Luck

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View John 's profile


253 posts in 3369 days

#5 posted 05-19-2010 12:48 AM

One of the guys at work just got his hip replacement done about a month ago and he was back on his feet alot sooner then when he got his knee replacement about a year prior. All this at 73 years young.

-- John

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 2981 days

#6 posted 05-19-2010 12:52 AM

I can’t stress the importance of a 2nd opinion better than KTTM did. I have had a bugger of a pain going through my hip since I did a 200km charity bicycle ride from Toronto to Niagra Falls last year.

Tried massage therapy. That made the pain worse (so did sitting in hot tubs). Family dr said it was inflamation after having x-rays done and I was prescribed something heavier (and side effect scarier) than anti-inflams. Some help, but not much.

Went to sports physio. They said it was Bursitis. Ice and electro therapy didn’t work.

They recommended I see a podiatrist as I walk with my feet turned slightly outward. That dr said I had flat feet. So I went and got orthotics. That didn’t work.

Went to a chiropractor. X-rays, CT scan and bio scans done. Turns out it’s Sciatica! Took only about 6 months to diagnose! ARgh!

Long story short, get as many opinions as possible before you commit to a treatment. Especially if you don’t like what you hear!

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3263 days

#7 posted 05-19-2010 01:32 AM

I have assisted with the installation of this hardware. When I was a surgical technologist (scrub) total joints were one of my specialties. I am guessing you had an MRI since you know you have a cyst.

At your young age hip prosthetic implants are usually press fit into place, no cement. This will make it easier to replace the hardware some twenty or so years from now. Good news.
When the time comes to have your replacement be sure to ask about minimally invasive total hip replacement. These are being done more and more, smaller incision, faster recovery. Also question if they can still do press fit vs. cement because of the cyst. Sometimes cysts can reduce the bones thickness.

Do not compare a story about someones knee replacement with how hip replacement will be. The knee is a different type of mechanical joint (hinge vs. ball and socket) and has a different recovery process. Now as an RN, most all of the patients I deal with say the hip replacement wasn’t as awful as they thought it would be. My Dad has had both hips replaced and one knee. He says from experience that he would rather have two more hips done before having to have his other knee done.

I wish you all the best,


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3545 days

#8 posted 05-19-2010 02:30 AM

wow I hope things get better

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Rick's profile


9439 posts in 3000 days

#9 posted 05-19-2010 05:31 AM

I’m Echoing Most of what Mike said. Also KTTM…WEIGHT is very important.

Over 30 Years I could barely walk due to the pain in my Left Hip. My Family Doctor sent me to a “Specialist”. He did x-rays, I went back, he showed me the calcification in the Socket and the “Extreme” wear on the Ball. “If you don’t get this replaced NOW, in less than a Year you won’t be able to walk on it.” “I’ll book you for Surgery in 2 weeks.”

WOW! WOW! “NOT at this point you won’t!! He got MAD that I didn’t jump at the chance.

I didn’t bother with all the so called Physio etc. etc because of previous SEVERE, CHRONIC, Pain in my Left shoulder that they just made worse. It SUPPOSEDLY also required Surgery to take it all apart, clean it up, put it back together, wear a Sling for 2 Months. It was “Fixed” by a Friend that was a Yoga Instructor. Long story short. Stretching exercises that hurt like hell, then light weight traing (Pain is by now gone) I liked it so much I continued with the weight training and worked my way up to Bench Pressing 225 Lbs., Curling 3 sets of 80Lbs. etc. ALL FIXED! Not even a Twinge at this point.

Back To The HIP: Another friend talked me into seeing his Chiropractor. She did x-rays. She couldn’t even see what the “Surgeon” was talking about, but I DID have a Slipped Disc that was allowing the Vertabrae to Clamp down on the Sciatic Nerve. THAT was what was causing the Pain. 3 visits per week for 2 weeks and the Pain is GONE. Flares up once maybe twice a Year, couple of visits, back to normal.

MORAL: I DON’T Trust Doctors that are all to quick to want to put you into their “Reserved Hours” in the Operating Room. YES! IF it REALLY is needed then do it. BUT! Explore ALL the Options available first, including Chiropractic. Forget all the “Lesss Informed” (A Polite Substitution) that say …”Never catch me going to one of those Bone Crackers!” etc etc etc

CYST: I’ve had one on my Kidney for 5 Years. Same thing…..Either… “We should go in and see what’s going on….”It should definately be Removed.” Yet! Not one of them could tell me exactly what a Cyst is other than “A “Growth” that is probably not Malignant.” So! Onto the Computer… American & Canadian Kidney Association. “Kidney Cysts are quite common amongst Men and usually do not require Removal. IF they get to a size where they start to put pressure on other Organs and in turn the Kidney, at that point Orthoscopic DRAINAGE should be strongly considered. DEFINITION: By both Associations ….”A Cyst is an Abnormal Growth on a Plant or Animal (US) that contains a Fluid with no point of Drainage.” The “Surgeons” must have been having Coffee durng CYSTS 101.

I hope all works out well for you uffitze.


-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 3263 days

#10 posted 05-19-2010 01:16 PM

You are right about the weight, and always getting a second opinion.
Not all doctors are created equal, and a patient must be informed to all the options available.

A cyst in a joint is a common sign of osteoarthritis as they can form with the degeneration of the joint cartilage.
All cysts are not created equal. A kidney cyst is not the same as an osteoarthritis cyst, yes it is a cyst, but the etiology is different . Kind of like- wood comes from trees, but all trees are not made up of the same type of wood. (That would be boring) You said, ”Not one of them could tell me exactly what a Cyst is other than “A “Growth” that is probably not Malignant.” Most of the time a simple explanation will suffice. You wanted more information, and found what you needed to answer your question. The true definition involves anatomy and physiology which goes right over most peoples heads. Sometimes it’s hard to keep it simple knowing most people won’t understand what your saying and what it means anyway.

I think your stretching and weight training is an awesome solution to your problem. Glad to hear you have done so well without a disruptive surgery. I keep thinking I could get rid of some of my aches and pains by this method, I just need to get off my butt and do it. Thanks for the motivation…..


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 2923 days

#11 posted 05-19-2010 06:01 PM

Thanks for the info and wishes guys.

Of course, second opinions are always a good idea, but in this case, I tend to trust what my doctor was telling me. A big part of that trust comes from his not recommending surgery right away. It seemed like the biggest reason for that was simply my age and the fact that the hardware has a limited lifespan. So, the longer I can tough it out and get by with acupuncture/yoga/chiro, the better. But, he also said to stay away from “impact” types of activities, and I am a bit concerned that my profession could become a bit of a problem … I’m in construction, and am on my feet running around all day (when there’s any work that is). I also very much enjoy hiking and backpacking when I can get the chance, and that will probably have to be stopped for the time being.

Complicating factors is the fact that I just had surgery on a ruptured achilles (the reason I was at the doc’s in the first place), and the fairly high deductible on my insurance has been met, so presumably, the hip surgery would be “free”.

(And, for what it’s worth, weight isn’t really a factor for me unless I should put on a bunch of it.)

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 2923 days

#12 posted 05-19-2010 09:18 PM

Good points Tom …

The orthopedist who gave me this diagnosis actually gave me a reason for the “arthritis” ... apparently my femur rides more upright in the hip socket than is normal. Now, my orthopedist doesn’t claim to be a hip expert, but he did suggest that I see his partner (who is) once I’ve recovered sufficiently from this achilles surgery. And, I’m going to do that. But, in the meantime, I figgered a bit of education would be a good thing.

I’m not really interested in collecting a couple more scars unless it’s really necessary.

View TJ65's profile


1376 posts in 3017 days

#13 posted 05-21-2010 08:31 AM

I too have the dredded Arthritis bug, and being diagnoised at 40 was a quite a blow as I am pretty active. Found out later that it is hereditary. I am able to keep it all under control with recognising what it likes and dislikes. For example it really hates the cold- so I try to keep it warm at all times. It hates weather changes-cant do much about that but being aware that in a few days it will pass.

Rest when you are tired
try to work it and keep it mobile.
Only take Anti inflamatorys when you really, really need them and then only take them for a little while.

Working helps me keep mobile and fit, woodworking helps keep me occupied and relaxed. Find what works for you and do it.
Try to keep what you have got, as it is always better than anything artificial. As you know they dont last long and before you know it you will need another replacement. Also as time goes by, the likelyhood of replacements being/getting better will only increase.
Good luck with everything

-- Theresa,

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 2923 days

#14 posted 05-21-2010 08:02 PM

Actually, it is in both hips, and is (I think) caused by the way that the upper end of my femur is shaped.

I’ll certainly ask about a brace option when I go to see the hip expert, and I definitely don’t want to take anti-inflamms on any kind of regular basis. In my online research, I’ve learned about a newish procedure that they doing in younger patients that preserves most of the upper end of the femur (hip resurfacing), and I’m sure that if I do end up needing surgery on this anytime soon that is what they will do. It seems like the benefit to this kind of surgery is that it allows for a second total hip replacement surgery if (when) the first set of hardware wears out.

The big thing that I am concerned about is being able to make a living. I feel like I’ve been lucky in a physical sense (although definitely not in a financial sense) because my shop has been pretty slow and I haven’t been working much. When we are busy, I’m on my feet running around all day and I definitely feel it. Now, I have been scheming (dreaming) about getting rid of my mortgage and therefore being able to get by with less money. And, presumably, I could find a way to earn that smaller paycheck in a way that wouldn’t beat me up so much. So, that scheme has suddenly become all the more important to me.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3553 days

#15 posted 05-21-2010 08:09 PM

My friend at 70’-ish age had two hips replaced worked great in no time he was getting around great and the pain had gone too.Alistair p.s. good luck from me and mine to you.

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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