You may not know that the hip joint is one of the largest joints in the human body. It’s also among the most important. This joint is responsible for supporting the upper body when you stand, walk, or jump. It also helps with bending, and stretching.
If one of the hip joints becomes severely damaged, you may have difficulty walking, or even performing a number of everyday tasks. In this case, a hip replacement, or an alternative procedure known as hip resurfacing, may be necessary.
Hip resurfacing is a surgical procedure offered as an alternative to total hip replacement (for suitable candidates). During this procedure, the surgeon removes damaged bone and cartilage in the hip socket and trims the femoral head surface.
One advantage to hip resurfacing is that it removes less bone than a total hip replacement, leaving enough remaining bone for a future total hip replacement. This makes it preferable for younger patients, who are expected to require hip replacement surgery as they grow older. Another advantage of hip resurfacing is that this procedure typically results in a greater range of motion than a traditional total hip replacement.
If you’re considering hip resurfacing, here’s what you should know about the procedure.
What is hip resurfacing?
With a total hip replacement, the head of the femur and the socket are both replaced with an artificial device. But with hip resurfacing, the focus is on only temporarily dislocating the femoral head, removing the damaged bone and cartilage from the hip socket, and then replacing the damaged area with a metal cup. Unlike total hip replacement, which removes the head of the femur, hip resurfacing involves trimming the head of the femur and then capping it with a metal covering. This produces a metal-on-metal bearing, which works well in most patients, but has been problematic for a small percentage. Be sure to consult your doctor.
What conditions does a hip resurfacing procedure address?
Those who suffer from advanced arthritis of the hip may be able to benefit from hip resurfacing. Those who are suffering from advanced osteoarthritis, and have already tried other nonsurgical options, may benefit from hip resurfacing. A hip resurfacing procedure should only be considered if your hip(s) are affecting your quality of life, or interfering with your everyday normal activities.
Who might benefit from hip resurfacing?
Not everyone is a candidate for hip resurfacing. Most candidates are younger men, under the age of 50, and those who have a strong bone structure. However, your doctor may recommend hip resurfacing if you have advanced osteoarthritis and have exhausted all other nonsurgical options. Hip resurfacing is generally recommended for younger patients with serious hip problems since the procedure leaves enough bone for a future hip replacement.
What happens during a hip resurfacing procedure?
Typically, a hip resurfacing procedure lasts around an hour and half to three hours. During surgery, the surgeon makes an incision to access the hip joint. The femoral head (the hip ball) is then dislocated from the socket and trimmed with specially powered instruments, so that the new metal cap will fit snugly onto the bone. A metal cup is then pushed inside the socket, and the femoral head is relocated. The incision is then closed and your surgery is complete.
What recovery steps are taken after hip resurfacing?
In most cases, patients can leave the hospital 1-2 days after surgery. While it is possible that you may need assistance walking for the first few weeks, you should regain mobility relatively quickly. Physical therapy can help you to maintain motion and restore your strength after surgery. In 6 weeks, you should be able to resume many daily activities.
While hip resurfacing isn’t for everyone, for suitable candidates, it can be an ideal alternative to hip replacement surgery. To find out if hip resurfacing is an option for you, schedule an appointment with your orthopedic hip specialist today.
Rebound Clinic is a premier orthopedic, sports medicine, and neurosurgery clinic with locations in Portland and Southwest Washington. To book a consultation with an orthopedic hip specialist, use our online appointment request form.