I've been an Alpine mountaineer & scottish winter for about 25 years. Following pain in my hip it is looking possible that I'll need a hip replacement for Osteoarthritis. I hear stories about how quickly people are walking again after the operation but strangely they never mention mountaineering. Does anyone have experience of mountaineering after a hip replacement? I don't want to put my equipment on ebay just yet!
I'm not sure what is meant by mountaineering, but I sure have seen people do some rough stuff after hip replacements -- class 4, 5000' gain in a day, etc. A 71-y-o friend was finally sidelined after his 3rd hip replacement (a newer part for one that had worn out), but by a clot that caused cell death in his foot, not the hip problem. He still does rock climbing.
I had a total hip replacement two years ago. I am not into alpine climbing or mountaineering (and never was), but I hike a lot and climb at the same level as I did pre-injury and hip replacement. I haven't been leading since my hip replacement, but I have had several unrelated surgeries since the hip replacement that slowed me down. I am beginning to feel like leading again. My surgeon says I can do what ever I want to, but warns me that a fall could have serious consequences.
If you can, I'd look into resurfacing as that will allow you to keep more of your own bone and have a closer to normal range of motion. If resurfacing isn't an option for you, find a surgeon who use an anterior approach. You will have fewer restrictions post surgery and will find the recovery easier.
Thank you all for very helpful advice. Being in the UK (and employed as a teacher!), private health care isn't really an option so I will be slightly stuck with what the NHS will provide rather than what I want. Your replies have certainly given me the questions I need to ask the doctors though. My thanks to those that offered PM. I might take you up on that.
It partially depends on the surgical approach. Here in the USA the surgeons mostly do posterolateral approach which rips apart the ligaments in the back of your hip, so you can't let your legs cross over eachother, or hips bend past 90 degrees for 6-8 months. Some of the more progressive surgeons do an anterolateral approach and the restrictions are instead not letting your hip hyperextend (much easier to obey). The newest approach is the minimally invasive approach that is a much quicker rehab, and smaller entry site/scar later.
Either way you must be careful- the risk is dislocating your hip due to the now surgically loosened ligaments that stabilize the joint. Once you dislocate (an ER visit to relocate) the chance of dislocating again are high-not something you want to happen on a wall. So research it and doctor shop to give you the shortest rehab and most confidence in the final outcome that is will stay where it is supposed to.
Hip replacement are much less painful than knee replacement, you just initially get stuck with more weakness. Good luck!!