Caroline's symptoms and her journey to diagnosis
Caroline Phillips shares more about her fantastic experience at Mount Alvernia Hospital
Caroline’s symptoms and her journey to diagnosis
Caroline Phillips was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both hips in early 2019.
Osteoarthritis is an autoimmune disease that happens when your body attacks its healthy cells by mistake. It causes symptoms such as pain, swelling, and stiffness in your joints - these range from mild to severe depending on how advanced your arthritis is. Caroline's symptoms increased over the next few years following her diagnosis and her legs became weaker from protecting her damaged hips.
"I reached a point where I could only climb stairs if I used my arms to pull myself up," she says. "My legs simply didn't move as they should. Everything was so stiff, walking hurt, and I went through phases where I couldn't sit for longer than 20 minutes or so, which wiped out my ability to socialise. I couldn't get dressed without using long-handled grabbers. By early 2020 my life was becoming so limited that I knew I should assess my options and contact my GP."
Caroline was advised she could either carry on using pain medication as needed or have hip replacement surgery. She explains: "It was easy to decide to have the operation. I looked at it quite simply. If I don't have the operation, then I will have pain and discomfort and get worse. If I do have the operation, I will have pain and discomfort in the beginning, but continue to get so much better."
Caroline’s treatment with Mr Seb Sturridge, consultant orthopaedic surgeon
When Caroline first started researching online, she established that she wanted a specialist orthopaedic surgeon with lots of joint replacement experience who used minimally invasive techniques. She checked Mr Sturridge's profile online and read his patient reviews, all of which were excellent.
"Four words stood out on his profile: 'rapid recovery' and 'minimally invasive'. He was a specialist in this area and had considerable experience with hip replacements - he ticked all the boxes. I went to see him and came away full of confidence that I was in very safe and capable hands."
What happened during and after Caroline’s surgery?
On the day of surgery, Caroline arrived at hospital and was taken down to theatre where she had an injection in her spine. She was laid down and fully sedated. When she woke up, she wasn't in any immediate pain and was taken back to her room to rest.
During Caroline's hip replacement surgery, Mr Sturridge removed the damaged parts of her hip joint and replaced them with artificial parts. These artificial parts, also called prostheses, are made of metal, and the surface that lines them can be ceramic, plastic, or metal.
"Having read so much about recovery after hip replacement surgery, I knew how important it was to get on my feet as soon as possible and start using my new hips. I sat on the edge of my bed with the walker in front of me. My amazing physio, Debbie, said I could stand up and that my new hips would take my weight. I was genuinely surprised at how stable I was.
I look a couple of steps and my hips were moving so easily. I was feeling sore, but I was expecting a lot of pain, which I didn't have. I couldn't feel pain in my right hip at all and experienced only a slight niggle with my left hip when I put weight on it. That morning, I walked the long corridor outside my room and after that, there was no stopping me. It was such a relief to get the operation done and to know that it was the right decision - I had my hips back!"
Caroline progressed with physiotherapy at the hospital and then transferred to an outpatient rehabilitation clinic locally, where she had physiotherapy twice a day and walked several times daily.
Recovering at home
Caroline saw a physiotherapist on a weekly basis after she returned home from hospital. She followed the recommended exercises twice a day religiously and took short walks outside.
"I was walking and doing stairs without crutches on day eight. I was off pain medication and the swelling had gone by the end of week two. I was walking for 30-40 minutes by week six.
"I am absolutely delighted with the outcome of my operation and my exceptionally fast recovery. I've got my life back and it's all thanks to getting the right surgeon, Seb Sturridge."
To find out more about hip replacement surgery at Mount Alvernia or your nearest Circle Hospital, call us directly or book an appointment with one of our consultants online.
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