This pertains to my mother, age 96, <90 pounds, who had a hip replacement in 2004. She has complained of pain in that hip for some time, but I assumed that it was sciatica from spinal stenosis. She did go back to the orthopedic surgeon several times for x-rays, but was assured that the hip looked fine.

She has tried to stay active and walk a few blocks nearly every day. Recently, her walk turned into a shuffle, and the pain was worse. She has osteoporosis, and her spine has developed a curve in the past few years.

A few days ago, she went to another orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion. The x-ray told a totally different story. The artificial end of the femur has penetrated through the pelvic cup into the pelvis like a spear, probably 2-3 inches.

Apparently, this was not completely recent, because there was calcification around the end of the femur. The orthopedic surgeon advised stopping the daily walks, but said the condition is inoperable, considering her age.

It was 5 p.m. when he told us this, and we were quite numb at this news. The orthopedist said that the other orthopedic surgeon had probably noted the condition and not told us about it, since it is essentially inoperable.

All of which is odd, because of the many x-rays my mother has had, and the pelvic MRI she had 15 months ago. Nothing like this was noted by any radiologist before.

My questions are: Is there a term for this condition? How often does it happen? Is it treatable, or must one reconcile oneself to a wheelchair or bed confinement? Should one exercise? I imagine in heavier persons there is a danger of the femur tip tearing into the internal organs and producing peritonitis.

If this had happened to me, I would probably be hanging upside down and gulping calcium tablets, trying to pull the femur out and promote calcification in the destroyed joint. This is not possible for a 96 year old with osteoporosis.

Any comments you have would be welcome.
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replied April 19th, 2008
I dont see why at your mother's age that it is inoperable, after all the Queen Mother here in Britain (dont know where you are) had her hip replaced at the grand age of 98..... and died two years later.... If what's happend that I think has happend(im not a dr, but i had a hip replacement 17months ago) is that the cup of the pelvis has worn away and like you said, the femur has gone through... I'd imagine it to be an easyish operation to bring the femur back, and insert a metal cup into the acetabulum... I had AVN (avascualr necrosis) for 15years, where the femur itslef eroded away, until such time it caused so much pain the whole joint was replaced, have had no probs since then....

I would speak to the surgeons again, and ask them WHY they wont operate..is it because it's difficult op? her age? funds? really stand your ground... she must be in awful pain... (im sure they could do something if they tried hard enough)

Good Luck
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