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Marta Castellanos - Bilateral Hip Surgery in France
Marta Castellanos planned to have both her hips resurfaced in July 2009.
Below are her answers to the Dancer Questionnaire leading up to surgery.
Follow that are her long-awaited post-op entries. Things did not go as planned and she had one hip resurfaced and the other replaced by an anterior approach -NR

"Paris Broadway - Perfect young ladies" - Marta is standing
Date of surgery: 1st july and 13th july 2009
Surgeon: Dr Frédédric Laude
Hospital: CMC Paris V - France
Prior to Surgery
When did you first notice symptoms and what were they?
As one other dancer on your website put it, there was never that ONE moment when you can say you realised something was seriously wrong. At the age of 33 I started having problems with my right hip which got treated with massage, acupuncture etc. Then in my 40's I started encountering more pain and loss of flexibility - I couldn't do the splits any more, my arabesques were ghastly, I suffered from lower back pain every day. My turn out was going... I started teaching again in 2006 and my hips went down hill as from then, both right and left. I can't lie flat on my back without getting stuck, I can't lie on my stomach either. After driving a long distance I have to stretch my hips out otherwise I waddle like a penguin. So I can honestly say that I've been suffering from hip problems for about 19 years!
What was your medical diagnosis (traumatic osteoarthritis, congenital hip problem, avascular necrosis, etc)?
Just good old osteoarthritis due to dancing!
What forms of treatment did you seek before considering surgery (chiropractic, acupuncture, medications, bodywork, physical therapy, herbs, etc)?
I have regular physiotherapy (twice a month), I've had acupuncture on and off, homeopathy, then recently I tried visualisation with colour (I'm convinced that the mind can work wonders but I'm not experimented enough in mind control. It was just too damned painful to concentrate long enough!!! I'm now on Nexen every day, one a day.
How did you change your work habits, lifestyle to accommodate the hip problem?
Apart from thinking ahead and deciding if I can face it before walking anywhere or taking the car more (much against my ecological principals) I haven't changed much, I still teach and as my students are beginners I have to do everything apart from floor work. I've adjusted my jazz routines to fit what I can do. (I'm getting right bored with the routines now as I'm losing out on floor stuff and openings!) But I wouldn't go for a leg wax or a massage now as I couldn't lie back or open my legs wide enough! Also I worry about sitting down anywhere for too long, for example in restaurants as I'm embarrassed by getting up and having to walk to go to the loo (English for toilet) I have loads of stairs at home which I force myself to run up and down instead of just walking them, I walk the dog every day in the countryside and I try to maintain a good pace. But instead of hiking for 2/3 hours on weekends, like we used to do 4 years ago we just manage 1 hour.
How long an interval was it from the onset of hip problems until surgery?
I decided last year that I'd go ahead and have the op as I'm down right fed up with the situation and I couldn't continue teaching next year if I don't, so altogether I'd say 10 good years.
What factors, physical, emotional, financial, etc. influenced your final decision to have surgery?
I can't continue to take pain killers for the rest of my life and I don't want to look like my neighbour, hobbling about on 2 crutches and hanging on for dear life. It's just too too painful and restricting. I want to get my life back! I won't be able to continue working if I don't operate and even just every day living is becoming too complicated. Not to mention the pain. I'm down right fed up with the situation and I've experienced moments of great frustraton and depression. Any dancer will probably say the same - seeing your body go down hill, not reacting anymore, stiffening up , slowing down - it's like it's no longer your own body but someone else's. Since deciding on the operation I feel like I'm at the end of a long dark tunnel, like I'm going to live again! I'm already thinking post op.
Were there other dancers you spoke with that helped you?
At first I only consulted your website and was encouraged by the stories I read, I thought hey! It can't be that bad. Then I did some Internet research and only once I'd accepted the situation (I was in negation for years and years) did I start talking to my mates about it, or at work. I now feel free, like a huge weight is going to come off my shoulders. I' m even becoming an arthritis bore, I can't stop talking about it. My man and I wonder why we didn't just organise this earlier and avoid all this pain?
What influenced your choice of surgeon?
Like you told me in reply to my e mail, you have to feel you've found THE SURGEON. I read Dr Laude's website, and just had a "feeling" about him. He's an experienced "resurfacer"!
How long were you in the hospital?
Hospital stay in France is 5 days obligatory after an operation so I'll be in/out/in/out as I'm having both hips done within 12 days interval (may as well get the whole thing over and done with as I don't have a good hip to stand on!)
What kind of prosthesis did you get (e.g., ceramic ball/ceramic liner? poly liner? highly-crossed linked poly liner? all metal?)?
I'm going for resurfacing which is why I've chosen Dr Laude. Metal.
I shall send you another story post op so you can read the follow up.
Posted April 25, 2009
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UPDATED May 05,2011
Hi! I've left the post op questionnaire a bit too long! I guess after surgery I really did get my life back! But I did want to conclude the episode and spur on any suffering dancers. MC
What influenced your choice of surgeon?
I found Dr Laude on the Internet after loads of shopping around. I was in financial difficulties and one surgeon doing resurfacing didn't treat patients on "CMU" (universal state insurance for the less well off) which is actually illegal in France but the authorities close their eyes... Dr Laude replied he operated everyone, suggested an appointment, I read his paper on his technique, I found him charming, reassuring and rather cute... (That did not influence my choice however I assure you...)
How long were you in the hospital?
I went in on the 30th June 2009 at 3pm, was operated on the right hip on the 1st July and was back on the train home on Saturday 4th July! (Independence Day, rather prophetic!) Then I went back in on the 14th July (Bastille day!) was operated on the left hip on the 15th and was back on the train on the 18th July! I must say I should've organised an ambulance return, the train journey albeit only 2h20 was a bit of a nightmare. Painful and LONG! The SNCF were in turmoil as it was the BIG summer holidays and although they organise accompaniment for people in my situation they left me in the lurch and I was somewhat man handled by pressing French people anxious to get off on their hols. Thankfully the ambulance men that took me to the station were wonderful.
What kind of prosthesis did you get (e.g., ceramic ball/ceramic liner? poly liner? highly-crossed linked poly liner? all metal?)?
We had decided on resurfacing for both hips, but during the first intervention I remember slightly coming round and hearing Dr Laude cursing and swearing. He was NOT a happy bunny. He later told me that my bones were a little... crumbly! So it was a metal prosthesis on the left side using the anterior approach. I have lovely short scars about 8 cm long. The male nurse looking after me was really proud, as if he'd done the op himself! I must say, when I hear of what other surgeons do I am in royal admiration of Dr Laude...
Did you have any complications in the hospital?
I actually felt as if I was on holiday! I used the time to just decompress and let go, the weather was lovely, I met some great people (patients and nurses) with amazing stories - it was a super experience! The 2nd time round I asked for morphine though and I threw up once.
Anything else to say about your in-patient experience?
Anyone travelling abroad for an operation - I highly recommend the CMC Paris V with Dr Laude!!! The food was terrible though...
Did you have any complications, especially unexpected difficulties, after you got home?
I just let go, did sweet nothing and listened to my body. I slept when I felt like it, ate, watched the garden grow and used the time to not feel guilty about being inactive.
What steps did you take toward recovery? (Physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, medications, bodywork, herbs, etc.)
I wanted some physio, thinking it would be useful and I was actually worse off, too much strain too soon. Dr Laude didn't think any was necessary anyway. So I rested for and was back teaching 3 months later. I have regular massage anyway twice a month so I carried on with that. I did my own class work out and pushed a little further when I could, stretched out at home on and off...
How long did it take you to really feel recovered (6 months, one year, two years?)?
Although I was working 3 months later it's now been 2 years and I'm still not 100 percent. I'm still a little stiff but then I'm not dancing professionally any more. I love the feeling when my body gives a little more, goes that bit further, it's exciting. I guess it'll take a bit more time. I'm not in a hurry. Reading what I wrote pre op I was amazed at how awful that period was! I'd forgotten just how restricting and depressing it all was! I really was another person! The pain just ruled my life and made me grey!
Anything or any practitioners that you would highly recommend?
Dr Frederic Laude!!!
Moving again
Did you return to dancing professionally?
As I said, I started teaching 3 months later.
About dance class: Do you take dance classes?
I don't do classes any more apart from my own, 4 days a week. But I really would like to do something... Tai chi, work out...something... I'm a little lazy.
How much facility do you have?
Pretty good actually on an every day basis, but during floor work my 2nd is a little limited, and I can't get my leg further than 90 degrees when pulling it back towards my shoulder. But hey!
All post-THR patients are advised to limit impact on the joint and to avoid overcrossing the legs. There's absolutely NO risk with the anterior approach. Dr Laude actually told me off - I had slipped a pillow under my thigh to lighten the pull downwards which was painful and he pulled it away thinking I was afraid of a displacement. One can do anything and everything and very quickly.
Given that, do you actually modify your dance class? E.g., are there parts of the class that you skip (petite allegro, grand allegro?)?Do you use fifth position? Etc.
I have knee trouble so I avoid jumps, etc. because of that but not because of the hips!
Do you do other physical exercise (e.g., Yoga, Pilates, biking, swimming, etc.)? If so do you modify what you do in these activities?
I really must get into some classes somewhere...
How has the surgery impacted you professionally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, and financially? Is your life different now? Did you have any outcome, good or bad, that was different from what you expected? Any other thoughts to share?
I'm a born again woman! I really wonder why I left it so long! Then again I probably wouldn't have found Dr Laude if I'd had the op earlier. I believe things happen at the right moment. I've gone from grouchy/grumbly to active/bubbly.
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