Die Another Day PART 2: Total Hip Replacement - Ivan's Story


Die Another Day PART 2: Total Hip Replacement Gives Physio Remedies Patient, Ivan, A New Lease of Life

Forty-nine year old Physio Remedies total hip replacement (THR) patient Ivan describes how his knowledge of the modern day advances in hip replacement technology, famous sportsmen and women that had undergone THR surgery and the first class physiotherapy and referral advice he received from Sarah Lawson and Nick Smith of Physio Remedies enabled him to make the decision to have surgery early and start realising the benefits of doing so – PART 2, making the decision.

In Part 1 Ivan gave the background to his sporting life and his diagnosis.

Making the Decision (Hint: look at what other THR patients are doing worldwide)

So the mind games began. There must be a mistake? I have hip osteoarthritis, that’s what my mother had that preceded her total knee replacement when she was seventy five. There must be a mistake, I need a second opinion surely? It is nothing that a few anti-inflammatory and pain killers won’t nail. I must have reached a threshold of discomfort.  Why don’t I wait a few years, let’s set a date? When I am fifty or maybe fifty five?

Mr THR Bionic

Sometimes in life you have to believe in fate, even if it seems that we ‘filter in’ events and information which will help us solve problems – events or information that in our normal life we would ignore. My turning point in making the decision to go ahead with the operation was one afternoon, following the consultation with Professor Haddad, at a water-ski lake outside London. I got chatting to another water-skier who happened to be an orthopaedic surgeon. Not surprisingly he knew of Professor Haddad and his excellent reputation but, of more relevance, he said to me “Did you see the guy before you mono-skiing on the lake?” I had indeed seen a guy, about mid-fifties, canning it back and forth between the water ski buoys like a pro but I had not paid him much attention. “That was so and so” my new acquaintance said adding with a smile, “by the way he has had both his hips replaced”. I could have cried for joy!

Once I understood, from seeing Mr THR bionic water-skier man in action, that a THR did not mean the end of the life as I knew it, I researched all I could find on sports after total hip replacement surgery. It blew my mind. I thought hip replacements were an end of life last resort to keep the aged in their eighties mobile with the aid of a walking stick. How wrong could I be?

Total Hip Replacements - The Statistics

There are now over 1.4 million total hip replacements performed globally each year, over 230,000 in the USA and 80,000 total hip replacements alone in the UK, 60,000 carried out by the NHS. And the trajectory of THR operations is expected to increase with estimates that they will exceed 575,000 in the USA by the year 2020.

In fact, the clinical improvement now achievable from modern total hip replacement surgery is known to be second only to major heart surgery, as the single most life-value adding surgery. The procedure is into its fifth or sixth decade of development. As surgical techniques and the prosthetic biomaterial and technology have improved in the past three decades, THR has almost become a standard, highly routine, procedure to deal with the pain of end-stage hip osteoarthritis.

The lifetime of the prosthetic has increased dramatically encouraging surgeons to recommend THRs to a younger and younger demographic of the population. For example, from 2001 to 2007 in the USA, the incidence rate of total hip arthroscopy (THA) in patients between the ages of 50 and 59 increased by 50 percent. This far outpaced the incidence in persons aged 60 to 69 (15%) and 70 to 79 (9%). But what would I be able to do after my surgery? 

Total Hip Replacements - A Who’s Who

I read up more and my research turned up some surprising ‘A’ list athletes who had undergone THR at relatively young ages and since returned to high level activities, including sports and physically demanding vocations. I am sure you may recognise some of the following (age of THR):

  • Jo Durie – British tennis player (53)

  • Andrew Castle – British tennis player (50)

  • Mark Covell – British sailor, British Olympic Silver Medallist (48)

  • Scott Mckercher – Australian pro windsurfer (46)

  • Patty Lane - US triathlete (50)

A decision!

My mind was made up. I was through the mental anguish. I was going to do this to get back on the water, back on the bike and running again. And besides, I was desperately hoping to have a family one day, how could I ever imagine not being able to windsurf or kite or even run around with my children?

Words by Ivan. Ivan runs an IT professional services company, Snell Consultancy, and he can be contacted at www.ivansnell.com.


If you’re experiencing hip pain call us on 02030 12 12 22 to book an appointment with one of our hip specialists: Paul Martin or Alex Manos.


Next month – PART 3, preparing for surgery, the operation, rehab and today’s update.