In 2007 I had surgery on both hips because of wear and tear in the joints. A hip prosthesis was placed on both sides. At the time I opted for a new method that was then applied in Belgium: the so-called "hip resurfacing". This is quite different from traditional hip surgery. Since many people are still asking me about this method, here's another explanation of what exactly happened.

Already around 2003 I noticed after a football match that the area around my hips could become so stiff. Especially after sitting for a while it was difficult to move smoothly again. This got worse, so that it also bothered me on Monday: climbing stairs clearly became unpleasant. The after-effects of a football match became more and more emphatic so that I eventually stopped. An X-ray showed that there was wear and tear in the hip joints.

A good vs. worn hip: You would expect that due to wear the femoral head will become increasingly loose in the hip socket, but the opposite is true. To compensate, the body will create extra material to strengthen the whole: the "bone growths". As a result, the joint space is narrowed further and the femoral head eventually gets stuck in the socket and the mobility is therefore gone.
From 2004 I went to the physiotherapist every week to keep my hip mobility as great as possible (less movement means, of course, that the muscles stretch less and less), but in 2007 the stage had been reached that an operation was necessary. The limitation in movement was still bearable in itself, the pain also went, but it is the fatigue that kills you. Mobility had decreased to such an extent that even something as simple as a curb started to become a major barrier.
Diagnosis of mobility for surgery revealed the following numbers: flexion on the right was 70° and the left was 45°. Abduction, adduction, exo- and internal rotation were all 0°. The functional hip score for pain, function and pain was 28 on a scale of 100 (i.e. little function, a lot of pain).
On a trip to Mexico, as well as at work, I met people who pointed out to me the existence of the ANCA clinic in Ghent. The orthopedist there would apply a new type of prosthesis that would be much more suitable for young people. With a classic prosthesis, part of the leg is removed (Total Hip Replacement, THR), while now only the femoral head and socket are replaced (Birmingham Hip Resurfacing, BHR). The classic prosthesis (left picture below right) means that the patient always has to be a little more careful with extraordinary movements, while the BHR prosthesis (left picture below left and picture right) allows much more such movements. Therefore, BHR is much more suitable for younger patients. For older patients, BHR is not always possible due to bone quality. The BHR prosthesis is made of a cobalt-chromium alloy. In the Netherlands it is also referred to as a MoM prosthesis (metal-on-metal). Incidentally, the body itself seems to provide lubrication with liquid between the moving parts.

On Friday 11 May 2007, the operation was performed on both sides simultaneously. dr. de Smet was of the opinion that with my age I should be able to do that. He himself performed the operation. On Sunday I had to get out of bed for the first time and stand on my own two feet (that was quite heavy!) and on Monday I left the hospital. Then I stayed for a week in Villa Cento Passi, the care hotel of the ANCA clinic. There I received daily physiotherapy and exercises in the pool. On Tuesday I already walked down the stairs with crutches and after a week I was able to go home. The final recovery took about a month. With some extra physiotherapy in Hengelo I was finally able to move as usual.

After a year I was allowed to come back for a check-up. X-rays were taken and the metal content (cobalt and chromium) in the blood was measured, after all, that says something about possible wear of the metal parts. Everything turned out fine: the metal contents in particular were low for a double denture. I also went for checkups in 2010 and 2012 and the results were excellent again, said Dr. de Smet. He stated that in many patients the metal values ​​would eventually drop to zero. Of course he did not want to give a guarantee, but spoke of the possibility of being able to do this for a long time to come.

Despite the fact that I can do everything again, I don't dare to play football well again. That should actually be possible again. But football is an uncontrolled sport and I am far too happy that everything is working as it should again. I am really a satisfied patient! Nevertheless, the method is controversial in the Netherlands (see the article here) and it is only reimbursed by few insurers. According to Dr. de Smet, this is due to the use of an incorrect series of prostheses that have led to many complaints in the Netherlands. In addition, placing is a very precise job, which requires a lot of experience and which apparently there is not always enough in NL. The large number of "customers" from the Netherlands and many other countries proves that Dr. de Smet is an excellent orthopedic surgeon.

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