Questions and Answers
Q. What’s the difference between hip resurfacing and total hip replacement?
A. Hip resurfacing conserves more of your natural bone and does not remove the thighbone (femur) neck shaft. Instead of cutting off the pitted, arthritic top of the thighbone, called the femoral head, the top is resurfaced with a metal cap shaped somewhat like a mushroom.
Hip Resurfacing (left); Hip Replacement (right)
Q. How might hip resurfacing benefit me?
A. Preserving more of your natural bone means you can maintain your natural way of moving – your body mechanics. Your surgeon can reshape the bone closer to the size and shape of your natural hip. You receive a better fit within your hip socket this way. Hip resurfacing offers the potential for increased range of motion and more stability (i.e. meaning hip dislocation is less likely).
Another big benefit is recovery time. While total hip replacement patients can expect fairly lengthy recovery times (plus physical therapy and following certain precautions), hip resurfacing patients may only need two the three weeks to return to light activities. You’ll want to follow your surgeon’s instructions completely to help ensure a successful recovery.
Q. How can I tell if I’m a candidate for hip resurfacing?
A. Only your orthopaedic surgeon can evaluate you to see if you meet certain criteria. Generally, hip resurfacing is most appropriate for young, active people with:
- Good bone quality
- Rheumatoid arthritis
It is not recommended for patients with these conditions:
- Poor bone quality which may not support the implant
- Numerous cysts
- Infection (or suspected infection) in or around the hip joint
- Allergy to metal (such as jewelry)
- Extreme overweight (i.e. too much pressure on implant would cause failure)
- Musculoskeletal immaturity
- Weakened immune system due to disease or certain medications (such as cortiscosteroids)
- Kidney failure
It is also not recommended for women in their childbearing years.
Q. How long will the resurfaced hip last?
A. The life of your implant depends on a number of things: the degree of your arthritis, your overall physical condition, weight and post-operative activities. Your surgeon will help you determine the best way to go about your favorite activities so that you can ensure the longevity of your reshaped hip.
If your implant should need replacing in the future (due to your active lifestyle), your surgeon may then be able to perform a total hip replacement. For younger, more active patients, these options are invaluable.
Q. What are the risks and complications of this procedure?
A. Hip resurfacing is like hip replacement in terms of potential risks. There is a small risk of complications due to infection or early loosening, which may necessitate additional surgery. Other possible complications, including general surgical risks, are dislocation, allergic reactions, fracture of the femoral neck after surgery, and noise during hip motion.
Your surgeon will discuss the risks involved in your individual procedure.
Call 215-481-BONE today to find a hip resurfacing specialist at the Institute .