Like a hip replacement, hip resurfacing is a procedure that resurfaces the worn and painful surfaces of the hip with man-made components. The main difference with hip resurfacing is that far less bone is removed than with a hip replacement. Rather than having the entire femoral head, or “ball” of the hip removed, hip resurfacing involves reshaping the femoral head to receive a metal “cap.” The socket side of the hip or acetabulum is relined very similarly to a hip replacement.
Hip resurfacing is most commonly recommended for younger patients with severe arthritis of the hip who may be faced with multiple surgeries over their lifetime.
What are the advantages?
There are a number of potential advantages to hip resurfacing. These include:
- Bone preservation. With total hip replacement, the entire femoral head or “ball” is removed and a metal stem is inserted into the femoral canal. If the hip later needs to be revised, a longer and larger stem is needed, requiring additional bone removal and a more difficult operation. With hip resurfacing, the femoral neck and part of the femoral head is preserved, making revision surgery (if needed) much less difficult.
- Less risk for dislocation. With hip resurfacing, the femoral head size is typically larger than with hip replacement, allowing for better range of motion and improved stability. This is important for younger, more active patients.
- Low-wear rates. The new generation of hip resurfacing implants feature metal-on-metal bearing surfaces.This configuration has been shown in the lab to result in very low rates of wear over time, compared to metal and plastic.
Who is a candidate for resurfacing?
The best candidates for hip resurfacing are typically younger patients (under 60 years of age) with isolated bone disease and strong bone around the hip joint.
How long will I be in the hospital?
It is now common for many patients to be able to go home from the hospital after two or three days. The goal is for you to recover in the comfort and privacy of your own home as soon as possible.
How long is the recovery period?
This can vary for each person. Driving may be possible in 5 to 6 weeks, and activities such as golf and bowling can be resumed in as few as 10 to 12 weeks. Activities such as singles tennis and skiing are not recommended. Most people will be able to go straight home from the hospital.
How much does it hurt?
You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will be doing everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible. Modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control pain and discomfort after surgery.
Will I need a blood transfusion?
Your surgical team will be doing everything possible to minimize bleeding, but some blood loss after hip resurfacing is unavoidable. Whether or not a blood transfusion is required will depend greatly on highly individualized factors, including your condition prior to surgery, cardiac history, age, etc. Be sure to discuss these issues with your surgeon.