Successfully avoiding hip replacement surgery

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Hip replacement surgery is no longer an inevitable outcome of chronic hip pain, even when arthritis has set in and told hip replacement is recommended.

4 years ago when first consulting with patients on our stem cell procedures with degenerative hip conditions, I didn’t have a lot of experience with the results. Therefore, I could never be confident that it would help. I was more concerned about the expense of the procedure and what if it didn’t work? I was more concerned about how upset the patient would be with me having paid a substantial amount of money with no results. Therefore, I would say something to the effect of… “There is a good chance it could help, but I’m not sure. It might not work at all. In fact you better think it over long and hard this week. Talk it over with family and get back to me.”

I can clearly recall Mrs. Johansen, a 66 year old grandmother who simply wanted to travel to see her grandchildren in other states, but was not able to do so because of her ailing hip. I can recall having that same conversation as mentioned earlier, asking her to think it over all week with family input and consulting with her orthopedist. What I learned. Very good, loving, compassionate, well meaning family members and friends talked her out of an expensive, non-FDA approved stem cell procedure for her hip, and to put her trust in the joint replacement. Because that was at least a “for-sure” thing.

I didn’t hear back from the family of Mrs. Johansen until about 6 months later. Her daughter with great concerned called and wanted eagerly to speak with me as soon as possible. I remembered the family and called at my first break. I was sad to hear of the events that occurred following her hip replacement. It was explained to me that her procedure seemed to go just fine, her recovery was quick and was sent home the next day. Unfortunately, the following days didn’t go so smoothly. she soon had increasing pain and swelling round the hip, she then developed a fever and felt sick to her stomach, soon she was dizzy and feeling faint. She called her daughter and within an hour she was being sent by ambulance to the ER - as you may have guessed, she developed an infection at the surgical site and the infection had gone septic. She was immediately started on IV antibiotics until stable and then had to have the hip replacement operated on again to clean out the infection that had spread all throughout the hip.

It was determined that the replacement was going to have to come out as they could not completely remove the infected areas of the hip. They removed the hardware, but because of the fragility of the bone after the removal, it was decided to close her up without any hip at all. She was released from the hospital on bed rest (obviously, she has no hip). So, there she lies in a bed for weeks trying to recover from the infection so they can proceed with another surgery to replace the hip. After 4 weeks of antibiotic therapy, she appeared to be clear of her infection and they proceeded to surgically implant a new hip for the second time.

Her daughter tells me that the second hip at least didn’t get infected and she’s on round-the-clock antibiotic therapy likely for the remainder of her life. In addition the hip didn’t take very well, in her weakened condition the bone and metal didn’t seem to be “getting along” and she’s unable to bear much weight on the hip because it seems to slip around, feels unstable and yes it hurts.

That’s when I finally decided I need to be more confident in my recommendations. I have since learned that 3-4 out of every 100 hip surgeries will get infected with similar results, AND 1 out of every 400 of these surgeries results in death of the patient within the first 90 days following the procedure.

Here’s the big point: At least if the stem cell treatment doesn’t give the relief necessary, you can always have a hip replacement. But, if you have a hip replacement, there’s no going back, there’s no stem cell treatment that can fix a botched hip surgery. With a consistent success rate of 81% of hip patients, I am much more confident in my approach today as I should be. We get great results and best of all, no surgery!

Amen? Amen.

Dr Bean