Deborah, active mum

Debilitating pain and restricted mobility lead Deborah to seek a referral to an expert hip surgeon from her rheumatologist.

Deborah suddenly started having pain in both hips, although much worse in the left, without a specific injury or accident. The pain progressed fairly steadily over a period of months.

She was unable to sleep comfortably, walk her children to school, take her dog out and it was overall very debilitating. She was in constant and severe pain and began to feel depressed.

Deborah suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and, understandably, pain of this kind is assumed to be one of the symptoms. In this case, Deborah was convinced there was a different cause and asked for a referral. She says: “I have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and EVERY new issue I have is automatically assumed to be part of my RA. I knew my hip issue was not RA, it was unilateral and the pain was very different. Asking for recommendations and reading reviews really helped me decide to bite the bullet and invest in my health. I had to be very assertive to convince health professionals this wasn’t RA.”

Deborah was referred to Mr Dean Michael by her Rheumatologist, who highly recommended his skills, and she had high hopes: “I knew I would be listened to and assessed as a whole person and I would have input into the next steps. I knew I was seeing an experienced specialist and I therefore expected surgery would only improve my ailment.”

When Deborah came to see Mr Michael she was walking with a crutch and her mobility was really suffering. On examination of her MRI scan, he diagnosed a labral tear (a tear to the layer of cartilage inside the hip joint) and a possible small cam lesion (an abnormal bump on the head-neck junction of the hip ball).

Before undertaking a surgical intervention, Mr Michael wanted to try cortisone injections to reduce inflammation and reduce Deborah’s pain. Despite this, Deborah’s pain continued, particularly on the left hand side.

At their next appointment, Mr Michael and Deborah discussed the option of surgery, which would involve an arthroscopy (minimally invasive keyhole surgery) to remove the cam lesion and repair the damaged cartilage. This procedure has good results in relief from the pain and aims to stop the ball and socket joint from jamming up preventing further damage to the joint cartilage.

Two weeks after surgery and Deborah already had a good range of movement and was advised to wean herself off her crutches at the same time as beginning a physiotherapy programme.

Deborah takes up the story: “My expectations have been exceeded. I can now do anything I want to. I have minimal pain and usually only after walking over 15km – pre-surgery I could barely manage 500m with a crutch.”

She continues: “I was always positive but did not expect to have less pain immediately after surgery. The physio I saw was excellent and I followed all the advice to the letter. I am extremely happy!”

Deborah summarises: “I fully trusted that Mr Michael could improve my debilitating hip problem. The whole package I purchased meant I was cared for and listened to throughout, making me feel valued and optimistic for a good outcome. From the administrative team, through to the nurses, physios and surgical team, I am so grateful and delighted with my rediscovered mobility. I am able to do everything I want to once again!”

Mr Michael concludes: “I am so glad Deborah’s hip arthroscopy has given her such a great result – pain free and back to taking part in the activities she enjoys. To see her off crutches and out of pain is really pleasing.”

May 2019