Doug's THR Revision Due to ALVAL 2009

Updated 11/23/09

At age 56 I was advised that a hip replacement was necessary, my surgeon who had come recommended and was very experienced, had been treating me for about 18 months for osteoarthritis and although I was a very fit 56 year old (climbed mt. kilimanjaro in 2007) I was given the impression that it was the only option.

I had my hip replacement in July 2008 and it was not a good experience. From day one it did not feel right and I had an unexplained 'shift' at the top of my leg. Every time I got up or sat down I sort of had to maneuver my leg till it felt ok then it was generally no problem, however this did improve a lot over the next 9 months.

However approx.10 months after the operation I was getting pain around the joint again and some swelling that was not diagnosed after two consultations, and not acted upon as quickly as I believe it should have been. Through unusual circumstances (another story) I was not able to have an arranged appointment with my surgeon, so, I decided to do some research and find the most highly recommended surgeon in my area. Very fortunately I found a different surgeon who agreed to see me and after approx. 10 minutes stated that although he was not 100% sure without blood test confirmation he believed he knew what the problem was and said it was ALVAL.

To cut a long story short I was admitted for an aspiration of the hip (they suck out the fluid) within five days and revision surgery within 3 weeks where the metal on metal (ball and cup only) were replaced with ceramic types. The original cup was very badly aligned and the ball was almost dislocated. There was a 'massive' amount of alval fluid, necrosis of the rota muscles (gone completely) the abductor muscles and some of the main muscle. This has all been removed and the main muscle tightened back up. I am only 5 days post surgery and already I can feel a difference, I know it is early days but I am walking with the aid of only one stick, there is no longer the 'shift' when I get up and down the pain has gone and I just feel a whole lot better. I truly believe that without the knowledge and skills of my new surgeon, I would have had some very, very serious complications that really don't bear thinking about too much.

I can only reiterate advice previously given, if you are advised that hip replacement is necessary make sure you have or find the best surgeon you can, and make sure you are given all the options because you may not need a replacement you may well be suitable for resurfacing. Also if you have any problems insist they are diagnosed and explained to your complete satisfaction.

I will keep you posted on my progress

Best Regards

Doug