About Hip Resurfacing Surgery
Overview of the Procedure
As a patient considering hip resurfacing surgery, you probably have many questions. This information will help prepare you for what to expect during your hospitalization and rehabilitation.
The hip joint (shown in Figure 1) is a ball and socket joint. The head of the femur (thigh bone) fits into the acetabulum (socket of the pelvic bone) to form the hip joint. In a healthy joint, the ends of the bone are covered with articular cartilage, which allows smooth painfree motion. The most common reason for hip surgery is related to the wearing away of cartilage leading to pain, limited mobility and instability. Hip surgery is done to replace an arthritic or damaged joint with man-made parts called prosthetics. The goal of hip surgery is to increase mobility and lessen pain.
A newer technique for some hip disease that has recently emerged is called a hip resurfacing (shown in Figure 2). Patients who suffer from hip arthritis, dysplasia or avascular necrosis may benefit from a hip resurfacing.
Osteoarthritis – the cartilage that covers the surface of the bones in the hip joint becomes frayed and pitted from repeated stress and trauma. When cartilage is damaged the normally smooth motion of the joint is replaced by painful friction.
Dysplasia – a condition where the hip joint is not formed properly. The socket is shallow and the head of the femur is not well rounded.
Avascular necrosis – interruption of the blood supply to the femoral head causes arthritic changes. After viewing your X-rays to examine your bone quality and pathology, your orthopedic surgeon will decide if this newer procedure is right for you.
About the Hip Resurfacing Procedure
In a hip resurfacing procedure, the femoral head is reshaped, the arthritic bone removed and a metal shell with a small stem (shown in Figure 3) is inserted, which covers the ball. This conserves bone in the femoral head and neck. It may be cemented in place.
The arthritic bone in the acetabulum is removed and a metal cup is inserted covering the bone (shown in Figure 4).
What You Can Expect
Surface arthroplasty surgery takes about two hours and requires about a two-day stay in the Hospital depending on your progress. You will be admitted the day of surgery. Routine care after surgery includes pain management, wound care, physical and occupational therapy. You will progress from using a walker to crutches with weight bearing as tolerated for about two weeks. After that time, a cane is used for an additional additional few weeks until you are able to walk without a limp. Your therapist will provide more detailed information on your activity prior to your discharge from the Hospital.
After Hip Resurfacing
In preparing for surgery, speak with your physician about realistic goals for your return to activities. Once healed many physicians allow patients to return to a high level of activity. Upon discharge from the Hospital and at your follow-up visit, your surgeon will provide instruction for your activity progression.