Discussions By Condition: Hip conditions

Acetabular fracture recovery?

Posted In: Hip conditions 46 Replies
  • Posted By: Aptos Gimp
  • November 16, 2008
  • 09:12 PM

In January of this year, I fractured my right acetabulum falling on ice. I underwent "open reduction with internal fixation" surgery in Reno within a couple of days of my accident. I now have eight pins in my hip. After the operation, the doctor said my socket, which was broken in four or five places, had fit back together just right and that he didn't think I would have to worry about arthritis. But he also said he couldn't predict how the cartilage in the hip socket would heal.

I did not begin walking until April 1. Well before I was cleared for weight bearing, back in mid February, I began feeling as if I had a "brick" in my right hip. It was not painful at that time, but once I started walking again it did become painful. Initially, my physical therapists and my local orthopedist (not the same doctor as the one who operated on me) diagnosed my condition as trochanteric bursitis. When a couple of months or more of physical therapy for this presumed condition failed to yield results, the doctor here referred me to an orthopedist at Stanford. He ordred an MRI, which failed to reveal any anatomical problems, and told me I that the source of my pain was my iliotibial band. I returned to physical therapy for more exercises, this time aimed at stretching my "IT band." Again, therapy failed to result in any improvement. Meanwhile, my hip pain was getting worse.

I returned to the Stanford orthopedist, who suggested that maybe the pain I was feeling on the outside of my hip was actually referred from the hip socket itself. To test this hypothesis, he sent me for an arthrogram, during which Ripivocaine, a numbing solution, was injected directly into the hip socket. Prior to this procedure, I was experiencing a burning sensation both on the outside of my hip and in my groin. Immediately after the injection, the burning went away, although I continued to feel pressure in my hip.

Based on this result, I am now scheduled for an arthroscopy at Stanford in December. My hope is that once the doctor actually gets into the socket and can see what's happening in there, (1) he'll be able to "clean up" loose cartilage, if that's the problem, or (2) tell if the socket is so far gone that what I really need is a total hip replacement.

I would really appreciate it if anyone who has also suffered an acetabular fracture and undergone open reduction and internal fixation surgery as I did could share their post-operative/recovery experiences with me.

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