I would like to reassure patients who are offered a joint replacement that all is not laden with threat or devoid of hope. Early in 1994, I was told that I needed both hips replacing, possibly in consequence of a road accident some 10 years earlier.

After a bad experience with one rude hospital specialist, by sheer good fortune, I was offered a consultation at a different hospital, where the surgeon offered to do a bilateral, as my general health was good. He would operate first on the femur, which had been badly fractured in the road accident, continuing with the second hip if all was well.

I surfaced after over five hours in the theatre. Thanks to homoeopathic preparation and support, I had virtually no post operative reactions, but there was an infection in the hip which had been previously damaged. Back to theatre for clearing up and drainage, after which healing was rapid. I was given a six month supply of powerful antibiotics which I discontinued after two weeks as I did not fancy an intestinal replacement at a later date!

Now, nearly two years after the operation, I can hardly believe that it ever happened, as in my seventy sixth year I can walk several miles and my health has recovered.

There is no doubt that I was fortunate in getting into the hands of a committed and highly skilled surgeon, and my message to WDDTY readers is that it can be good. C E J, Newcastle upon Tyne……..

Boy, is it nice to hear good news for a change! There is other good news about hip replacements. Surgeons reluctant to operate on young patients on the assumption that the hardware for hip replacement only has a 10 year life have been heartened by one study showing that two thirds of Charnley prostheses one of the oldest and best tested models were still operational after 25 years (J Bone Jt Surg, 1997; 79: 1599-617). Nevertheless, also bear in mind the recent disclosure that 5000 people are being recalled to have repeat operations because they were given faulty newer models. The moral: the oldest and tried and tested models may be the best.

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Written by What Doctors Don't Tell You

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