A few weeks ago I was referred back to a hip specialist by my GP, I had a bunch of scans and X-rays a few years ago and they told me at some point in the not too distant future that I would need a hip replacement. As it was, I managed to lose a bit of weight and felt fine until just recently.

So, I was referred back into the Orthopaedic department a few weeks ago and had an Xray and was told by a doctor (possibly the youngest doctor I have ever encountered in my life, he was about 12 years old) that my hip was worse and that I had a few options, but in the first instance I should give a guided fluoroscopy injection to my hip a go to have steroids and local anaesthetic injected into my hip joint in an attempt to provide me with some pain relief. Read on to find out all about it.

A fluoroscopy is: (thanks wikipedia)
Fluoroscopy is an imaging technique that uses X-rays to obtain real-time moving images of the interior of an object. In its primary application of medical imaging, a fluoroscope  allows a physician to see the internal structure and function of a patient, so that the pumping action of the heart or the motion of swallowing, for example, can be watched. This is useful for both diagnosis and therapy and occurs in general radiology, interventional radiology, and image-guided surgery. In its simplest form, a fluoroscope consists of an X-ray source and a fluorescent screen, between which a patient is placed. 

I had to be at the Day Case Unit in the hospital for 0700 (along with about 50 other people), I was directed to a different waiting area specifically for the orthopaedic procedures. I was popped into a room on my own which was freezing and after about 30 minutes a student nurse arrived to go through my pre op checklist again – I’d had my actual pre op a week earlier where they weighed me, asked me lots of questions and swabbed me for MRSA (a delightful experience where they essentially stick a cotton bud up your nose, in your mouth and in your groin – don’t worry, not the same one for each place). He also took my temperature and gave me my swanky red hospital bracelet. I get a red one for being allergic to Codeine.


 The student nurse told me I was third and last on the list and was due down to theatre at around 1130. At around 830, my consultant came to collect my signature and check I was still happy to go ahead, he then drew a very large purple arrow in sharpie on my leg – sort of an “X marks the spot”, a little while later an anaesthetist came to ask me why I was having a general anaesthetic, which I wasn’t, so a few minutes of confusion later after we established that I was only having a local he went off too. I was then popped into a room with another lady who was having an operation so I “wouldn’t get lonely”. She was watching Jeremy Kyle, which I never get to see because I work full time. It didn’t disappoint, the episode was about some guy who’s mate was accusing him of being the father of his daughters baby. It was good stuff, there was a lot of screaming and shouting.

Anyway, after the lady who’s room I was sharing went off for her surgery I was then asked to get changed into a super flattering hospital gown as I wouldn’t be long (so I was told, an hour later I was still sat in just my pants and hospital gown in a freezing cold room…). Personally, I think with a belt and some chunky jewellery, it would have been a workable outfit.

I was eventually picked up by a theatre nurse and walked what felt like miles to the theatre where i was ushered in and told to pop myself up on the bed, which would have totally worked if I wasn’t incredibly short, the bed very high and have arthritic hips. They managed to find me a set of little steps so I could climb on.

I was then hooked up to a blood pressure monitor, a pulse monitor and some other wires and things and was then asked to shimmy down the bed because the Xray equipment wouldn’t fit to be in the right place to show my right hip. I had a big lead apron thing placed over the top half of me to protect me. There was then a delay because they had the wrong steroid stuff. Finally they were ready to start. They popped in the local anaesthetic first. I’m not gonna lie, its uncomfortable and stings. This was followed by the guided needle – they watch the screens the whole time to see where they are, if they are in the right place etc. When they think they have it right, in go the steroids. This was painful and uncomfortable and I felt like I could feel it go right down to my knee. At this point, the theatre nurses tried some distraction therapy on me because my blood pressure decided to plummet, sky rocket, plummet and then sky rocket again. As the pump in the steroids, they can check on the screens whether it is leaking straight out of the joint or doing what its supposed to.

When I have had steroid injections in the past in my ankles, it feels a bit like your foot is being pumped up to the point it feels like it will explode, this in my hip was similar but it also felt like my leg was getting heavier and deader by the second to the point where it became uncomfortable. This was the point that they stopped. All the wires are then removed, I get a dressing over the injection site and I’m done. They luckily found a wheelchair and I was helped to sit up, because by the point, my entire right leg had forgotten it belonged to me.

I was helped down the steps off the bed and into the chair, I was incredibly uncomfortable and my whole leg just felt heavy and numb. I was then taken around to the recovery ward and had my blood pressure and pulse checked again. I was given a cup of tea and sat for half an hour, they checked my BP and pulse one last time and then I was allowed to get dressed.

Getting dressed was hilarious and frustrating because I couldn’t stand up, I had no feeling in my leg or any control over it. Once I’d managed to pull all my clothes on, I had ti be helped round to the ward where I started to be collected. It was like I was Bambi on the ice. Its the weirdest sensation being unable to feel your leg and makes it surprisingly difficult to walk! To cut a long and painfully funny story short, I eventually made it back home and up to my bed. It was very late on in the evening that I got any feeling back in my leg and I was in a lot of pain and very uncomfortable (I was told to expect this). I had the next two days being unable to really walk without great discomfort which was frustrating. I picked up by the end of the weekend and was back to work on Monday, but I am still finding my hip painful, so i’m unsure whether I’ve felt the benefit of this yet.

I get a follow up appointment in 6 weeks time, so we’ll see what happens then.

Get in touch – have you had this procedure? Did it work for you? Or are you considering it as an option? Let me know.

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