Yesterday was my 3rd follow-up appointment with my surgeon following my hip surgery in March. For those of you that haven't been counting, I'm about 3 months and 1 week out from my surgery.
The reason I'm continuing to go back is because:
1) I continue to have pain/stiffness/small ROM in the same areas I had before the surgery and it's still not to the point where it's better than before the surgery.
2) I have, what we considered to be, a pissed-off nerve on the lower lateral side of my thigh resulting in constant (always there) soreness and light-touch numbness.
Number one, both PT and surgeon continue to conclude is caused by scar tissue. Fair enough; I do see some improvement with continued strength training, stretching, and manual therapy. I'll just keep all that up.
Number two, however, is something that the surgeon has kept telling me "will get better over time". You know, the ole "it should take another 6-8 weeks" diagnosis. (In medicine everything seems to "take" 6-8 weeks, so I've remained skeptical.)
Yesterday finally, the surgeon actually stopped poo-pooing my complaints about the nerve soreness/numbness and started seriously looking at what's going on. Aparently I had been through enough 6-8 week time-frames to warrant further investigation and concern. So, he poked and he prodded and I winced and grimaced. He pressed on my upper thigh/hip area where they did the surgery and asked if that affected the soreness in my lower thigh and I said "no". He pushed around that same area asking me, "So, it doesn't hurt up here at all?" and frowning when I told him no. As I had been trying to point out for 3 visits, it hurts all the way down there, about 1/2 way down my thigh on the lateral/posterior portion. Nowehere near the site of the surgery itself.
So he sat back and sighed. "Well, that's unusual. I thought it would be referred pain from where we poked around in your hip from the surgery but it's not in an area that would have been affected by that. So, it's weird. You shouldn't have pain all the way down there. Unless it's something that was caused by the traction. I thought it might be scar tissue caused by blood pooling in your thigh but then it would be hard or lumpy and it's not."
To cut to the chase, he doesn't know what or why it is. His suggestion is to......wait for it...... wait another 6-8 weeks and, if it's still sore, give me a cortisone shot (meeps!). This in and of itself my solve the problem by calming "it" down (of course, we don't actually know what "it" is; we're surmising it's a nerve but have no medical proof.) However, it may only temporarily get rid of the soreness. If it comes back after the cortisone shot, he recommends another surgery via a 3" incision (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?) to go in there and see what's going on with the nerves. If the cortisone shot doesn't help at all then he guesses I'm just stuck with it.
There is no way in hell, heaven, or any purgatory inbetween that I am allowing that man to open me up again. Scar tissue, damaged nerves - these are the things I'm left dealing with 3 months later and all of them are a result of the surgery itself; new problems the procedure created that are actually more painful and limiting than the original injury I went under the knife to resolve. Who knows what "new" things we can create by allowing him to go in there and poke around in a new area, just (it seems) on a whim.
So, I'm resolved to being more diligent about my PT's recommendations of heat/cold therapy and more (painful) massage of the offending area. It's not that I haven't been doing these things but I haven't been doing them consistently, 2x per day, and especially not while I was away on vacation. If, after continued efforts, I still have soreness down there, I'm going to go back to my PCP and ask for a referral to a neurologist. I have to believe that there are non-invasive treatments and tests we can do to determine what's going on with my thigh and I'd certainly like to explore those before being sliced open again (if at all).