Patients with osteoarthritis of the hip may be candidates for either the traditional total hip replacement or the total hip resurfacing. These procedures are is a type of hip replacement but there are important difference between them. You should talk with your orthopedic surgeons about these procedures and which one will be best for you. During the total hip resurfacing, the femoral head is not removed but instead it is trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering. The damaged bone and cartilage within the socket is removed and replaced with a metal shell similar to a traditional total hip replacement.
The advantages of the hip resurfacing over the conventional total hip replacement are – it may be easier to revise since the implants used are mechanical parts that can wear out or loosen over time. In such cases, an additional operation is required called as a revision which is more complicated than the initial operation. Since the hip resurfacing removes less bone from the femur therefore many surgeons believe, it is easier to exchange the implants which fail post the hip resurfacing. The reduced risk of hip dislocation with this procedure, since the size of the ball is larger than a traditional hip replacement and closer to the size of the natural ball of your hip. Walking patterns are more natural following the total hip resurfacing than the hip replacement surgery.
Your doctor may recommend a total hip resurfacing surgery if you have more advanced osteoarthritis and have exhausted the non-surgical treatment options. You should consider surgery for your hips only if your condition is significantly affecting the quality of life by interfering with your normal activities. Unlike the hip replacement, this procedure is not suitable for all patients. The best candidates for a total hip resurfacing are younger than 60, have larger frame with strong and healthy bone. The patients having an older, smaller framed or female with weaker or damaged bone are at higher risk of complications such as a femoral neck fracture.
A comprehensive evaluation is required by your orthopedic surgeon to help you determine whether you are a good candidate for the total hip resurfacing procedure. During this surgery, your orthopedic surgeons will implant a metal socket in your hip. The difference in this procedure, is the treatment to the top of your femur or the thigh bone. Rather than removing the head of the femur and implanting a stem into the bone, the surgeon will trim and round the existing damaged ball. They will cover it with a metal cap anchored to the bone. The additional bone left on the femur will make it easier to successfully implant an artificial ball if the total hip replacement is required later. This procedure will be slightly longer than a total hip replacement and involves larger incisions.
In most cases, the patients can go home one to four days after the surgery. You may begin putting weight on your leg immediately after the surgery. Depending on your doctor’s preferences and the strength of the bone you may be asked to use a walker, crutches or cane for the first few weeks until you are comfortable enough to walk without assistance. A physical therapist will tell you about the exercises that help you maintain the range of motion and restore your strength. You will continue to see your surgeon for the follow-up visits at regular intervals. You can resume your regular activities by six weeks after surgery.
Hip resurfacing provides a number of potential benefits to patients, including a lowered risk of dislocation, preservation of natural bone, as well as easier revision surgery process for any procedures to correct the implant later in life. For these reasons, hip resurfacing can be a favorable solution to severe arthritis in younger patients. To determine whether you are a candidate for hip resurfacing, it is best to speak to an orthopedic doctor who can properly advise you.