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mrfish
@mrfish

Posts: 34
Joined: Nov 04, 2017

What kind of mobility can I expect with an antibiotic spacer in my hip

Posted by @mrfish, Nov 3, 2017

About 11 months ago, I had a total (right) hip replacement. No injuries led me to the decision to undergo that, just arthritic pain that had become gradually worse over 20+ years. Several months after the surgery, I developed an infection at the joint but it took a while to get that properly diagnosed. So, in less than two weeks I’ll undergo the first of the two surgeries/stages to elminate the infection and replace the implant. I’ve read that the antibiotic spacer I’ll have for 2-3 months will provide “limited mobility” but I’m struggling with what that really means. I’d apperciate any further information I can get from others who have undergone this same procedure. I expect 2-3 days of hospitalization following the surgery and IV antibiotic infusions several times a day (self-administered).

I’m an (otherwise) healthy 48yo male and I was very happy with how quickly I was able to bounce back from the original hip replacment. I’m sure there will be a week or so of recovery from the surgery itself — but after that am I going to be mostly home-bound for the interim, or is driving myself and working in an office setting (on a limited schedule) a possibility? What other aspects are there to living for a with a hip spacer?

Thank you in advance for your help on this,
Art in Alaska.

Liked by lynzze

REPLY

Hello @mrfish,

Welcome to Connect. thank you so much for sharing your information; we’re glad you’ve joined us.

We have a few discussions on Connect where members have talked about total hip replacement, infection and spacers:
– Walking without a hip joint https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/walking-without-a-hip-joint/
– End of stem pain after total hip replacement https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/end-of-stem-pain-after-total-hip-replacement/
– THR, Anterior Approach – 3 week mark https://connect.mayoclinic.org/discussion/thr-anterior-approach-3-week-mark/

@kenman @geek_girl @lynzze @hip2012 @mnpat @grandmacheryl @popolopo @sma1952 @leigh60 @amber67, would you join me in welcoming @mrfish, and share your experiences?

Liked by mrfish

Still pain after 2.5 years, wondering if it is sciatic nerve ?

@mrfish welcome to connect! This forum will hopefully provide you with some useful information as it did me!
First off my name is Lindsay from Missouri . I have undergone 5 hip replacements and a few antibiotic hip spacers all on my left hip. I have been thru 4 of those due to infection. So I’m kind of an expert when it comes to this subject lol
The hip spacer itself isn’t terrible…its a little bit longer recovery and not as comfortable as an actual replacement however its far better than going without a hip. Mine worked great and did its job along with the iv antibiotics.
So if you don’t mind me asking…how long have they said you might have the spacer?? In my opinion the longer you can keep the spacer and go without infection the better. Obviously I’m not a medical professional…just a professional at getting infected hip replacements lol lol
I wish you all the best and pray for a smooth recovery!
Lindsay

@lynzze

@mrfish welcome to connect! This forum will hopefully provide you with some useful information as it did me!
First off my name is Lindsay from Missouri . I have undergone 5 hip replacements and a few antibiotic hip spacers all on my left hip. I have been thru 4 of those due to infection. So I’m kind of an expert when it comes to this subject lol
The hip spacer itself isn’t terrible…its a little bit longer recovery and not as comfortable as an actual replacement however its far better than going without a hip. Mine worked great and did its job along with the iv antibiotics.
So if you don’t mind me asking…how long have they said you might have the spacer?? In my opinion the longer you can keep the spacer and go without infection the better. Obviously I’m not a medical professional…just a professional at getting infected hip replacements lol lol
I wish you all the best and pray for a smooth recovery!
Lindsay

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@lynzze I expect to have the spacer in there for 2-3 months…and hopefully only once! I’m sorry you’ve had to go through it so many times. Do they know why you had so many recurring infections? When was the last time you went through it all?

I received some of my pre-surgery paperwork today and was very disappointed to see that my Doc is planning to do the posterior approach to remove the current implant and to place the spacer. Perhaps that’s the only way the explant can be done?? I understand that poses a more difficult recovery compared to the anterior approach, which is what I had done for the original hip job last year.

Liked by lynzze

Sorry to hear both of you have had such bad experiences. I had a hip replacement 14 years ago…..my doctor did the posterior incision. I had an easy time recovering, but of course I was 14 years younger then.
Pat

Liked by lynzze, mrfish

@lynzze

@mrfish welcome to connect! This forum will hopefully provide you with some useful information as it did me!
First off my name is Lindsay from Missouri . I have undergone 5 hip replacements and a few antibiotic hip spacers all on my left hip. I have been thru 4 of those due to infection. So I’m kind of an expert when it comes to this subject lol
The hip spacer itself isn’t terrible…its a little bit longer recovery and not as comfortable as an actual replacement however its far better than going without a hip. Mine worked great and did its job along with the iv antibiotics.
So if you don’t mind me asking…how long have they said you might have the spacer?? In my opinion the longer you can keep the spacer and go without infection the better. Obviously I’m not a medical professional…just a professional at getting infected hip replacements lol lol
I wish you all the best and pray for a smooth recovery!
Lindsay

Jump to this post

@mrfish A’ll of my operations have been done via the posterior incision so I can’t really say if anterior is easier or not. I haven’t really had issues with that approach, although, because I have had sooo many surgeries the muscle in the side of my leg/butt is virtually gone which causes me to limp more. But I didn’t really have an option lol
They never pinpointed the exact reasoning behind my reacurrant staph infections other than possibly not all the infection was completely gone out of my body when the replanted. Luckily when #4 got infected I went to Mayo clinic and they advised everything being removed and leaving nothing implanted for at least 1 year. That was a hard pill to swallow. A hanging hip is no fun and the recovery process is crazy. My surgeon also advised I try to go more than a year …he said the longer you go without staph the better chances of a successful #5. Knowing that #5 would be the last one (I’m running out of good femur) (did I mention I’m only 35 lol this has been going on for 12 years …all a result of an automobile accident) I wanted to do everything possible to make it a success. I made it 4.5 years without a hip or spacer !! It wasn’t easy however I’m happy to say I recieved my hail Mary #5 hip June of 2016 and have had no infection (so far)!!!! I’m beyond happy although now the darn thing won’t stay in place lol
I have dislocated #5 3 times now 🙁 so that’s no fun…2 of the dislocations required surgery. Funny enough it just dislocated last weekend so I just got home from mayo where I had surgery to repair and change a few components … Thankfully the recovery process isn’t bad so I’m doing well.
My case is definitely rare and I draw a lot of attention from amazed orthopedists when I’m at Mayo lol I’m kind of a guinea pig and up to try anything new they have available to make this darn thing work lol
I really hope your surgery goes smooth… Do your pt exercises (even though I was resistant , I know they work lol)
If you have any more questions I am here!!
Lindsay with 5 hips lol

Liked by mrfish

I’ve had the opportunity to do some more reading tonight about anterior versus posterior approaches and I feel more at ease than I was earlier. I was under the impression that the anterior approach led to significantly shorter recovery times and that doesn’t seem to be the case, or at least not as significant as I had thought. I guess one interesting aspect of my surgical travails will be a first person perspective on both the anterior and posterior methods.

And, yikes, as one of my pre-surgery tests/exams today, I was on the receiving end of a MRSA nasal swab test. At least it was over quickly, but I hope I never need one of those again.

9 days to go.

Thank you to all for your input so far. Any more insights/experience would be greatly appreciated.
Art in Alaska

@mrfish yeah those MRSA swabs are no fun! Its like they are trying to touch your brain lol lol

Liked by mrfish

I am scheduled for this surgery on Tuesday of this week. I have a fungal infection but won’t know about a bacterial infectiion until they do the culture following implant of the spacer. I am told there is to be no weight-bearing on my right leg which means I will be confined to a wheelchair or walker or crutches. I’ve tried hopping around on a walker with one foot and find it very challenging. I am 78 yo. If you are fortunate enough to get rid of the infection in the first go round, I’d be doing the happy dance for you (yes, on one foot!) I would like to see that outcome for myself but don’t want to get my hopes up.

I learned on Friday that I will not be doing PT following the surgery. Maybe down the road but don’t know yet. I will be in a rehab center for what I hope is a short amount of time. Also been practicing pivoting on my good leg to chairs, the toilet, etc. and then lifting myself up on one leg. I like to think my body is developing a cell memory that will help make the transition easier. I have a regular wheelchair and a friend gave me a motorized wheelchair. I’ve used a cabulance to take me to appointments but will try getting into the car unless the pain is too much.

I have a supportive family and have done all the work to prepare myself physically, emotionally and spiritually at the recommendation of my surgeon who incidentally took some of his training at the Mayo Clinic. I will check in asap after the surgery.

Good luck to you.

Jan in Washington State

Best of luck to you, Jan (@janelaine)! You sound strong and ready for this challenge. I have two family members that have had this same procedure done and both of them had a flawless outcome. I’m wishing the same for you! Being physically and mentally prepared was a huge help to them and it sounds like you are on that same track- good for you!

Here were a few more tips I found that will hopefully aid you in a smooth transition post operatively.
•Arrange to have a friend or relative prepare some meals for you
•Place everyday items at waist level, so you can avoid having to bend down or reach up
•Consider making some modifications to your home, such as getting a raised toilet seat if you have an usually low toilet

I’ll be checking back on you!
Please let us know along the way 1) how you are feeling and 2) if you feel up to it- try to document any tips or tricks you have found useful that can be shared with the community. 🙂

@janelaine

I am scheduled for this surgery on Tuesday of this week. I have a fungal infection but won’t know about a bacterial infectiion until they do the culture following implant of the spacer. I am told there is to be no weight-bearing on my right leg which means I will be confined to a wheelchair or walker or crutches. I’ve tried hopping around on a walker with one foot and find it very challenging. I am 78 yo. If you are fortunate enough to get rid of the infection in the first go round, I’d be doing the happy dance for you (yes, on one foot!) I would like to see that outcome for myself but don’t want to get my hopes up.

I learned on Friday that I will not be doing PT following the surgery. Maybe down the road but don’t know yet. I will be in a rehab center for what I hope is a short amount of time. Also been practicing pivoting on my good leg to chairs, the toilet, etc. and then lifting myself up on one leg. I like to think my body is developing a cell memory that will help make the transition easier. I have a regular wheelchair and a friend gave me a motorized wheelchair. I’ve used a cabulance to take me to appointments but will try getting into the car unless the pain is too much.

I have a supportive family and have done all the work to prepare myself physically, emotionally and spiritually at the recommendation of my surgeon who incidentally took some of his training at the Mayo Clinic. I will check in asap after the surgery.

Good luck to you.

Jan in Washington State

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Good luck @janelaine, my surgery is on Wednesday so we’ll be able to compare notes. Very smart of you to do some of this practicing and planning before the surgery. I expect to be in the hopsital for a few days while they culture the samples taken during my surgery in order to get the antibiotics dialed in. I’ll have to wear active care leg cuffs for a few weeks; those are a real hassle. My ortho said no PT while I have the spacer, but there will be PT after the new hip eventually goes back in. I went and got two handles that attach w/ suction cups to the shower walls to help stepping in/out of the tub. I didn’t use a raised toilet seat after the original hip replacement, but I think I might want one for this procedure.

@janelaine

I am scheduled for this surgery on Tuesday of this week. I have a fungal infection but won’t know about a bacterial infectiion until they do the culture following implant of the spacer. I am told there is to be no weight-bearing on my right leg which means I will be confined to a wheelchair or walker or crutches. I’ve tried hopping around on a walker with one foot and find it very challenging. I am 78 yo. If you are fortunate enough to get rid of the infection in the first go round, I’d be doing the happy dance for you (yes, on one foot!) I would like to see that outcome for myself but don’t want to get my hopes up.

I learned on Friday that I will not be doing PT following the surgery. Maybe down the road but don’t know yet. I will be in a rehab center for what I hope is a short amount of time. Also been practicing pivoting on my good leg to chairs, the toilet, etc. and then lifting myself up on one leg. I like to think my body is developing a cell memory that will help make the transition easier. I have a regular wheelchair and a friend gave me a motorized wheelchair. I’ve used a cabulance to take me to appointments but will try getting into the car unless the pain is too much.

I have a supportive family and have done all the work to prepare myself physically, emotionally and spiritually at the recommendation of my surgeon who incidentally took some of his training at the Mayo Clinic. I will check in asap after the surgery.

Good luck to you.

Jan in Washington State

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@mrfish
Yes get a toilet riser!! It will make your life so much easier and won’t put as much strain on your good leg. Also a reacher/grabber in case you drop something on the floor. I could start a store with all the equipment I have gotten over the past 12 yrs lol
Also make sure those suction cup grab bars are firmly in place…I had one slip on me before. A shower chair is also a great piece of equipment especially since this won’t be your last hip surgery.
Best of luck to you BOTH!
Lindsay

@janelaine

I am scheduled for this surgery on Tuesday of this week. I have a fungal infection but won’t know about a bacterial infectiion until they do the culture following implant of the spacer. I am told there is to be no weight-bearing on my right leg which means I will be confined to a wheelchair or walker or crutches. I’ve tried hopping around on a walker with one foot and find it very challenging. I am 78 yo. If you are fortunate enough to get rid of the infection in the first go round, I’d be doing the happy dance for you (yes, on one foot!) I would like to see that outcome for myself but don’t want to get my hopes up.

I learned on Friday that I will not be doing PT following the surgery. Maybe down the road but don’t know yet. I will be in a rehab center for what I hope is a short amount of time. Also been practicing pivoting on my good leg to chairs, the toilet, etc. and then lifting myself up on one leg. I like to think my body is developing a cell memory that will help make the transition easier. I have a regular wheelchair and a friend gave me a motorized wheelchair. I’ve used a cabulance to take me to appointments but will try getting into the car unless the pain is too much.

I have a supportive family and have done all the work to prepare myself physically, emotionally and spiritually at the recommendation of my surgeon who incidentally took some of his training at the Mayo Clinic. I will check in asap after the surgery.

Good luck to you.

Jan in Washington State

Jump to this post

What a small world. Thanks for sharing. I have felt very alone with this condition (Septic Arthritis) so hearing from others is a godsend.
What are active care leg cuffs? We got a sliding seat that I use for showers. I have a raised toilet seat and a bedside commode. I asked my doctor several times what to expect after surgery but he didn’t give me any info. I’m a planner so it has been frustrating not having enough information. Good luck to you, @mrfish. As soon as I’m able, I will be checking back in. I’m all set up with lots of things to help keep my mind occupied during the recovery period.

Liked by lynzze

@janelaine

I am scheduled for this surgery on Tuesday of this week. I have a fungal infection but won’t know about a bacterial infectiion until they do the culture following implant of the spacer. I am told there is to be no weight-bearing on my right leg which means I will be confined to a wheelchair or walker or crutches. I’ve tried hopping around on a walker with one foot and find it very challenging. I am 78 yo. If you are fortunate enough to get rid of the infection in the first go round, I’d be doing the happy dance for you (yes, on one foot!) I would like to see that outcome for myself but don’t want to get my hopes up.

I learned on Friday that I will not be doing PT following the surgery. Maybe down the road but don’t know yet. I will be in a rehab center for what I hope is a short amount of time. Also been practicing pivoting on my good leg to chairs, the toilet, etc. and then lifting myself up on one leg. I like to think my body is developing a cell memory that will help make the transition easier. I have a regular wheelchair and a friend gave me a motorized wheelchair. I’ve used a cabulance to take me to appointments but will try getting into the car unless the pain is too much.

I have a supportive family and have done all the work to prepare myself physically, emotionally and spiritually at the recommendation of my surgeon who incidentally took some of his training at the Mayo Clinic. I will check in asap after the surgery.

Good luck to you.

Jan in Washington State

Jump to this post

@janelaine Best of luck to you!! You sound very prepared which will make the actual surgery recovery much easier on you! I’ve had a few spacers over the past 12 yrs and they aren’t as bad as they sound. I wish you all the best and will be praying everything goes smoothly! Keep us updated!
Lindsay from Missouri

@jamienolson

Best of luck to you, Jan (@janelaine)! You sound strong and ready for this challenge. I have two family members that have had this same procedure done and both of them had a flawless outcome. I’m wishing the same for you! Being physically and mentally prepared was a huge help to them and it sounds like you are on that same track- good for you!

Here were a few more tips I found that will hopefully aid you in a smooth transition post operatively.
•Arrange to have a friend or relative prepare some meals for you
•Place everyday items at waist level, so you can avoid having to bend down or reach up
•Consider making some modifications to your home, such as getting a raised toilet seat if you have an usually low toilet

I’ll be checking back on you!
Please let us know along the way 1) how you are feeling and 2) if you feel up to it- try to document any tips or tricks you have found useful that can be shared with the community. 🙂

Jump to this post

Thanks for the tips and encouragement. I am blessed with a supportive husband and daughters who are cheering me on and doing as much as possible to make life easier. I do not intend to be a couch potato – I have one good leg, a motorized wheelchair for outings. I will definitely pass along any tips or tricks I discover and welcome the same from others. My sister-in-law will be here for a few days to help out when I come home. She is a terrific cook.

Liked by lynzze

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