Yesterday I decided to do more exercise to try and relieve stiffness and pain. By the evening I had a deep ache/pain in my buttock on the side of the implant. We found quite a sizeable lump of tissue and thought it was probably the piriformis (a deep band of muscle in the buttock that aides hip stability). This might explain the pain and difficulty I’m having in hip abduction.
Andy started to research and read about stories where the piriformis had been cut in the anterior approach. One account said that the approach isn’t muscle sparing at all and that the piriformis can be cut but can’t be reattached in this approach, leaving the patient with a permanent limp and hip instability. I was horrified and began to feel sick, and I nearly passed out when I stood up.
Andy continued to show me images of incisions from the different approaches, and I tried to match mine against them to determine whether it was anterior or lateral, since I’d also read of tendon and muscle releases (cuts to these to help gain access to the joint) in the lateral approach, and since some anterior approach images seemed to show incisions in the groin area rather than further round like mine.
Andy: My fault, sometimes I get a little carried away
I spent many hours after that going through my surgical report, trying to translate it on my phone. I managed to reassure myself that the only incisions were to the skin, the fascia lata (the tissue enclosing the thigh muscles), and the hip capsule – i.e. that it was anterior and muscle-sparing, as I’d understood all along. Just because no muscles are cut, though, doesn’t mean that aren’t damaged by stretching, and by bleeding, and this is likely the case with my abductors. Damage like that is what sportsmen and women have to get used to, and nothing to panic about.
I’ve reflected this morning on whether these frights are part of the cost of going abroad for the operation, in that there is nothing in place locally as follow-up to reassure me, but I’ve knocked that idea on the head. The likelihood of being able to talk to anyone involved in the surgery if I had it done locally, or even someone able to give relevant reassurance or information beyond standard advice, is probably vanishingly small. I’d be using the internet much as I am now. So still no regrets!