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My name is Hanna Viner, I am 61 years old and I live in Sydney, Australia. I had recently a left hip revision surgery from MoM BHR to ceramic THR. After subscribing to your blog and reading your very interesting articles and stories I have decided to share my experience with you. I have bilateral artificial hips. Left is ceramic THR, MoM BHR on the right side.
In October 2000 I had my first right hip MoM BHR put in due to severe osteoarthritis and 3 months after had developed a limp in the left leg and pain in the left hip. My surgeon, who was trained in BHR 6 months before my first operation, had gone to Birmingham to learn how to use Derek McMinn‘s BHR prosthesis and I was one of the first patient to receive this BHR prosthesis in Australia. Anyhow this operation was successful and help me enormously with the pain, which I had suffered for at least 3 years, I was 48 years old when I had my first operation.
Two years later in September 2002 I went and had left hip BHR inserted and this operation was not as successful as the first one. My surgeon has told me that the damage in the left acetabulum and femur head was not as great as in the right one therefore they have to insert a bigger socket and force it into the acetabulum, I think they maybe did not have the right size of the socket for damage I had there. The future CT Scan had showed an old healed fracture in my pelvis next to the left prosthesis. Anyhow i was happy to have the new hip resurfacing in and did not pay much attention to the details then.
From the beginning the left prosthesis was squeaking and made all sorts of noises while I was moving or bending, but I had a little pain and considered that ok. When I attended numerous check up visits with my surgeon I have told him about the problems but he dismissed them as normal. Over the years the noises and occasional pain were more disturbing and in 2007 my X-ray showed the lucency next to the left BHR, which again my doctor has dismissed and said that there is nothing to worry about.
So life was going on and I started having gait problem and developed excessive pronation in my feet, more severe on the left foot. I also developed bunions on both feet and I had to do something because due mainly to left foot drop I was falling while walking even on leveled ground and my feet were killing me, being very painful while walking or standing for prolonged periods.
After numerous fallings I have researched the cause for it and decided to go and see podiatrist, which of course diagnosed me with severe pronation of my feet, especially the left one. I was given orthotics and felt better immediately. I also stared to notice that the left leg was kind of weaker than the right one, but I did not pay too much attention and was living my life as normal.
Mean while this leg problems had affected my thoracic skoliosis and my shoulders were very uneven, more than ever before, the right one was now much lower than the left one. So I started paying attention to my posture. I work in the office and had to be aware the way I was sitting and using computer. My right knee developed Bakers cyst and was and is quite painful especially when I walk up the hill or up and down the stairs.
I also started being very fatigued and developed some chronic aches and pains all over my body, I had digestive problems, loss of vision especially at night and could not hear so well with my left ear. I also have done a comprehensive stool analysis test learning from it that i had some bacterias, amoebas and parasites, my immune system was already compromised and i did not know why. I was a healthy eater, non smoker and non drinker, I use to do lots of sport activities and i was very miserable, irritable and unhappy, thinking that all of this is due to menopause.
In 2009 I had an Idiopathic hemorrage in the back of my left eye,which disappeared after 4 months. My blood pressure was playing up, hot flushes and night sweets were there even I had finished menopause few years before (by the way that period of my life was a miserable one too) and I felt overall very sick. I started Chinese herbs and acupuncture treatment which somehow helped because it made my body stronger but many of my symptoms had never disappear.
Than in June 2012 I went to see my orthopedic surgeon for a check up, which was 5.5 years overdue, i should attend this check up 4 years after my las check up, it was 1.5 years overdue due to some family commitments in Poland, had to look after my elderly mother for 15 months there.
In winter 2011 in Poland I already realize that my left leg is getting weaker and weaker as I was not able to do long walks on the snow the way I was able to do it in winter 2010, but did not worry too much about it blaming the old age, I also developed thyroid problems, my TSH was climbing up and overall I looked terrible, I was swollen especially my face at the chin and neck and my hands and feet and started putting lots of weight.
When I came back to Australia I went and had all necessary blood tests including thyroid tests and tests showed a Hashimoto disease, all thyroid tests were at the normal range, but my thyroid antibodies were elevated to 208IU/mL and my cholesterol was slightly elevated and some of the liver functions as ALT GGT and ALP were elevated. This started to worry me a bit. I did hip X-rays and went for a check up. I have already read the description written by radiologist, which showed that I have some overgrowth on the femur near the left prosthesis. I had showed that o my surgeon and he decided that we need to investigate this further, he had send me for a CT scan and a nuclear bone scan and I had also requested the metal ions blood test.
We did all of that and, o boy, I had a big pseudo tumor next to my left hip, bone and surrounding tissues eaten away by metal debris and metal ions in thousands in my blood, I had no option but to have surgery ASAP so we have scheduled this surgery for hip revision for 25 October 2012. I was speechless and angry and I had no option but to go for this operation.
The operation was successfull but it was done at the lasy moment as the damage to my bone and surrounded tissue was so extensive that if I would left it unattended for a bit longer I wouldn’t have any hip left there.
My surgeon had to remove about a litter of fluid with metal debris and repair all surrounded tissue damage. I was given THR made out of ceramic with ceramic liner to last longer and with titanium stem, also he did a bone graft from my own bone scraps from the femur onto acetabulum and fix the socket there with 2 titanium screws. I was doing pretty ok after the op and after 5 days in hospital I went to rehab hospital for 2 weeks for further rehabilitation ( isometric exercises in the morning and hydrotherapy in the afternoon), this was a great help. When I got back home I have continued hydrotherapy every day of the week and it felt great.  It has been over 5 months now after the operation, I do continue hydrotherapy attending sessions at least twice a week.
I went back to work 2.5 months after the operation and I am taking systemic enzymes which are helping enormously with my scar tissue and swelling, they are great, I also detox with chlorella and am taking lots of supplements to keep me going, but I am still tired and the left leg is not fully healed yet, still getting a bit painful if I will overuse it. But the range of movement is great.
I have been back to see my surgeon with new xrays on 8/3/2013, the bone has healed terrifically well and my metal ions are substantially down: chromium from 1200 nmol/l to 574 nmol/l and cobalt from 1860 to 68, still high but much, much better. During this check up I have requested a removal of my right BHR prosthesis and my surgeon was surprised by my decision asking me – why do you want to remove a perfectly good device, I had answered that this is a ticking bomb an it could be blowing up at any rime, he answered yes potentially it can. We had scheduled another revision surgery for 26/6/13. Since then I had enough time to think about it and considering the fact that my left leg is still quite weak I have realized that I may not be well enough to perform the second revision so soon, besides my lower back is playing up since the last operation which is quite normal. I have requested an MRI scan for hips and lower back and measurement of metal ions in blood every three months and if all will be good and metal ions will gradually come down (I know it is a long process, sometimes up to 2 years) than I won’t rush to have another revision surgery. So this is my story.
Dear Earl, what do you think about my decision, do you think I have to do some other checking ups in regards to my problem. I will be glad to sue Smith and Nephew for producing such a horrible device, I have made enquiries in Australia and in one law firm in America but they refused to help me because there is not class action against S&N. So I will wait until many people will come forward and do the same as I want to do. If you know about any possible law suit against Smith and Nephew please let me know.
Looking forward to hear from you soon
Kind regards
Hanna Viner