What is hip fusion?

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Hi, I was wondering if anyone could tell me what exactly hip fusion is and how effects you, like for example how long would you be hospitalized and are you bed-ridden fro awhile afterwards, and etc. I am asking this because my 12 year old daughter fractured her hip in Feb. of 2000. The fracture healed good, but the blood supply stopped going to the cartlidge above it and she has been having alot of pain with it and not very good range of motion. Her doctor has suggested hip fusion, could anyone tell me about this operation? Thanks,L.Cameron L

-- Linda Jane Cameron (linda.cameron@ns.sympatico.ca), November 28, 2002


Hi Linda, I am not an orthopedic surgeon but the best answer i can give you from my own personal with fused hip is to discuss with your doctor the possiblity of putting off the surgery until she is old enough to have a THR and in the meantime exercise her muscles so that thr HR is a complete success.If this is not possible then at least you must tell them that what ever technique they use the have to bear in mind that she cannot spend the rest of her life with a fused hip nand that eventually she will have a hip replacement.NO pinsw or nails. I will also send you a copy of my letter to Jessica on the same subject and my personal experience. Merry Xmas


-- Roushdy Abouseda (rosha2000@yahoo.com), December 21, 2002.

Hospitalization is short and on the order of a few days. The main limitation will be weightbearing. She may be out of bed and walking on the day after surgery. But she will not be able to put much weight on the leg for several weeks (typically 6-8 weeks).

-- Timothy Johnson, M.D. (tjohns55@jhmi.edu), December 27, 2002.

It's been awhile since your letter, I found it on a search. I too need a hip replacement. I'm 19 years old. Last May I was in a car accident, dislocating and shattering my hip, breaking my tibia and femur in two different spots, breaking both my feet, craking my shoulder blade, and tearing my liver. It's been a difficult process. They first pined my hip together. Then in January after removing some pins/screws, the doctors found that the bone healed, but did not live and was deteriorating. Now being April, I'm schedualed for surgery May 5th. I have to make a decision, whether to have my hip fused. If i do, I was told that I would have a very limited range of motion. This would completely eliminate the hip joint, permanetly. If I decide later on in life that I would prefer a hip replacement, I'm out of luck. However, with me beig the age that I am, the wear and tear that I would place on my hip would wear down the replacement. I would need another by the time I'm 30-35. By the time I need my third replacement, I wouldn't have enough bone to do one. From that point on I would have a bum hip and be in either a wheel chair or on a walker. With the fusion, I wouldn't have to worry about my hip for the rest of my life. I would still need a cane, have a limp, and have the length difference in my legs. The replacement hopefully may eliminate that. You have to keep in mind that with all the technological advances in the medical field, by the time your daughter or I may need another replacement, something new and better may have come about. As for time frames, all I was told was that having a fusion is a considerably longer healing period. If you could write me back to let me know ow you daughter is doing, i'd appreciate that. Take care, and my best wishes to you and yours.


-- Elizabeth Gubala (libby09215@cs.com), April 03, 2003.

My son is having hip fusion surgery on Monday, Apr. 7. He was diagnosed with leggs-perthese when he was 12, older than usual when diagnosed. He has arthritis in his hip and will at some point need hip replacement. We were told by Univ. of MS Med Ctr. that when he is older, he can still choose to have hip replacement. It is our understanding that having hip fusion will take care of most of his pain and stabilize his hip for now. He will have no range of motion, but he doesn't have any now, because of pain. Hopefully this will be a temporary answer. We pray for new break throughs that dont cost an arm and leg. They have no insurance, and he has been turned down for work because of it. He and his wife are struggling now. Dept. of Rehabilitation services is helping them with the cost of this surgery. He is 24.

-- mary turner (msmturner@aol.com), April 03, 2003.

I had my left hip fused when I was 13 years old--40 years ago. The fusion means there isn't any joint so there isn't any mobility in that hip. I have one leg longer than the other to compensate for the lack of the hip joint. I was pain free for years, worked at a variety of jobs including some that required standing, and had three children normally. Gradually, though, I started to have problems. I have arthritis in my spine, knees, and feet. I cannot stand in one place for very long without back pain and need both knee joints replaced. I have lost some flexibility and because of the pain I do not walk a lot. The fusion was very effective for a lot of years without a lot of side effects. Good Luck to your daughter.

-- Jeanette Richman (jmrichman@yahoo.com), May 14, 2003.

Hello My name is Gerald and I was born with Cerebral Palsy, affecting my right leg and arm and hand. When I was about 13 years old my left hip (ball and socket) went bad because of my awkward gait. I went through three operations that were meant to correct the problem with pins. The pins would not hold, so, in 1967, when I was 15, it was decided that my left hip be fused. In spite of these conditions, I went on to become an ordained minister in the Methodist church, pastored from 1977 to 1995, throughout PA and DE;was twice married, raised my ten month old daughter, as a single parent (she is now 19 years old, married to a Navy man, with two children) and presently teach high school history at a private christian school. For the past eight years my physical condition has worsened - my asthma is worst...I have pain in my lower back,both ankles and my right knee. I am now 51 (will be 52 in Nov). In spite of this I am moving towards establishing a ministry that will include the able and the disabled in every aspect of church life. For all too long...we, who have physical and developmental challenges have been reduced to merely being ornaments of pity and distain within the Body of Christ- the Church.

-- Gerald W. Scott (nov51@juno.com), July 05, 2003.

Hi, My name is Glenn and I am 33, I have just got back from the hospital where they have told me that I need to either have my hip fused or replaced (or do nothing and live with the pain). I too have arthritis from a motorcycle accident 3 years ago. My consultant has told me that if I have it fused it will last about 20 years without pain but because of the increced wear on my spine and knees due to (effectively) not having a hip joint I would very likely end up with severe arthritis in my back and knees and still have to have the hip replaced when that happens. As for the replacement, If I have that done instead it will last about 10 years before it has to be done again to give me another 10 years at best - a third relacement is unlikely to be sucessful as there won't be enough bone left to operate on. I have a lot of thinking to do before I choose which path to take but it would seem that in 20 years I'm going to be in a wheelchair or using a walking frame. Sorry I can't give you a better response and I pray that your prognosis is somewhat better than my own.

Love & Light

Glenn x

-- Glenn Dunwell (gwd@blueyonder.co.uk), July 08, 2003.

I had a metal cup placed on the left hip ball in 1948 rather than to have the hip fused. It has been reasoanbly satisfactory.

-- harry h. iverson (harryiverson@wahoo.com), August 01, 2003.

i have been living hip fusion for 44 years from age 11 when it was performed. if anyone wants to know what it has been like with all the side effects, email me please. i would be happy to answer any questions. best wishes to all.

-- alexa connolly (user346@aol.com), October 13, 2003.

You should visit this website: http://www.niams.nih.gov/hi/topics/hip/hiprepqa.htm

-- Robert Toussie (Robert Toussie @aol.com), March 15, 2004.

I had a hip fusion and leg lengthening procedure done I was 15 years old. I am now 21 and live relatively pain free. MOst of the pain for me is the stiffness in my back and sorness in my knee, because your back has to compensate for the fact that your hip has no range of motion and your knee will have to learn how to bend and stretch to sit or stand with comfort. I do still have a slight limp becuse one leg is longer then the other but i dont mind because i just call it my "stroll." I am also a gym rat and I train with heavy weights about 5 days a week. My life has not been regretful at all, I can do everything any average person can do , except maybe gymnastics. And I am now studying in physical therapy to help others function well in life. But all in all, I would recommend this procedure if the pain is just too unbearable like it was for me. But ultimatley it is your decision, so I hope you make the right decision for YOU and no one else. And make sure your orthapeadic surgeon has done this procedure many times and knows what he is doing. I wish you the best.


-- gurpreet buttar (gbuttar@ualberta.ca), March 28, 2004.

I developed avascular necrosis of rt hip due to accident.Hip fusion,muscle pedicle graft,Bone grafting ,osteotomy ect was suggested at the time i was 17 years of age.I went for VARUS OSTEOTOMY ,usually done by british doctors.Mine was a critical case since it was in last stage and the expectancy of success was limited to prolonging THR for 6-8 years ;it has been now 17 years after that operation and i live a normal life style.......except physical sports.I have gone to study electrical Engg and a masters in computer science.

I do not think hip fusion is a good idea. I am originally from INDIA and there facilities for people with these disabilities are horrible. Presently i am in US and i guess here it is extra easy. email me for any questions.

-- Ravi Gupta (rkgupta_dreams@hotmail.com), June 10, 2004.

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