Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

How Can I Deal With Severe Pain Following a Hip Replacement?

Tuesday, 08 June 2010 03:56 PM

Question: In July of 2005 my doctor replaced my right hip. When they got me up to walk that afternoon, I not only had pain from the operation, I also had severe pain in my left groin. A sonogram found a blood clot in my left thigh, and a filter was put in to keep it from breaking loose and killing me. They kept me in the hospital for 19 days, giving me blood shots in the stomach and physical therapy. I still have pain in my groin, even after seeing nine doctors. I believe the muscle is torn and the tendon cannot connect the muscle to the bone. I would appreciate any suggestions.

Dr. Hibberd's Answer:
It sounds like you are long overdue for orthopedic and vascular re-evaluation. A simple examination will be sufficient to establish whether you have had any tissue disruption. A bone scan may find any bone and joint inflammation, and other scans are available if your doctors feel you have an on-going inflammatory or infectious process. Though an MRI would show soft tissue very well, you are not a candidate for this because of the metal in the other hip.
Pain after phlebitis usually subsides as the clot dissolves and the vein inflammation settles down. This certainly would have been expected to be clear by now. Perhaps the filter is blocked or your venous system on the left side is partially obstructed.
At the time of your surgery, filter placement was done to prevent the clot from moving to your lung. Filter removal is not usually necessary but you certainly deserve re-evaluation and imaging to establish the cause of the pain on your left side. Perhaps you have continued problems with phlebitis; this warrants further investigation. Perhaps some spinal, lower back, or other issue is playing a role. Has your left hip also been affected by degenerative disease or arthritis?
While I cannot give you a diagnosis, I suggest you ask for a referral to a nearby medical center since your doctors are unable to establish the cause and effectively treat your problems. Avoid doctor shopping. If you are not satisfied or have not had your questions answered completely, always ask your treating doctor for a referral so the communication lines remain open between your doctors, and you are not subjected to repetitious tests.

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