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Hip Resurfacing

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Consultants who perform this procedure

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This procedure preserves more of the natural bone, thereby reducing post-operative risks of dislocation and leg length discrepancy. The implant is often metal, but ceramic versions are currently in the trial stage.

Why would I need hip resurfacing?

Hip resurfacing is generally carried out on younger patients with good bone quality who are suffering from hip pain.

These patients might also benefit from a total hip replacement, but because of the above factors, it is often recommended to undertake this less invasive surgery.

What symptoms does hip resurfacing address?

Most people who have hip replacement surgery no longer have hip pain and are able to walk with less difficulty, which can make it easier to do certain everyday activities. Because of the nature of the procedure, patients who undergo hip resurfacing also generally have an easier time returning to high impact/energy activities, like running.

When should you speak to your specialist about hip resurfacing?

If you are experiencing extreme hip pain that makes it difficult to move or perform everyday activities and alternative treatments have not helped and you fit the above criteria, it might be time to consider speaking to your specialist about the possibility of undergoing hip resurfacing.

How is hip resurfacing performed?

Hip resurfacing usually takes between 1.5-3 hours and can be performed under general or spinal anaesthetic.

During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision into the hip area. The femoral head is then dislocated out of the socket. Next, the head is trimmed with specially designed power instruments. A metal cap is cemented over the prepared femoral head. The cartilage that lines the socket is removed with a power tool called a reamer. A metal cup is then pushed into the socket and held in place by friction between the bone and the metal. Once the cup is in place, the femoral head is relocated back into the socket and the incision is closed.

What is the recovery for hip resurfacing?

Your recovery from hip resurfacing can depend on multiple factors, including your age, fitness level, and the nature of your procedure. Most often, it takes patients about six weeks before they can return to their normal activities.

You and your surgeon will discuss what you can expect after your surgery and what the best options will be for your recovery.

Are there any risks/complications associated with hip replacement surgery?

As with any medical procedure, it is possible for risks or complications to arise. It is best that you speak with your specialist or surgeon about how best to avoid any adverse reactions.

The most common complications that have been associated with hip resurfacing are:

  • Bleeding
  • Bruising
  • Swelling
  • Nerve damage
  • Damage to blood vessels
  • A broken femur
  • An infection
  • The implant might become loose
  • Bone forms in muscles near the hip
  • Hip dislocation
  • Pain does not go away
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Metal ion sensitivity (ALVAL)

How can I prepare for hip resurfacing?

Prior to hip resurfacing you should discuss the preparations you should make with your surgeon, as there are several that could be suggested and they vary depending on the person. Common preparations for hip replacement surgery include:

  • Losing weight if you are overweight
  • Remaining active and doing regular exercises
  • Routine blood tests and urine tests, x-rays or ECGs as ordered by your surgeon

Are there alternatives for hip resurfacing?

There are medical, non-medical and surgical alternatives for hip resurfacing, including the following:

Non-medical:

  • Using over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
  • Dietary supplements
  • Using a walking stick
  • Moderate regular exercise that can help reduce pain and stiffness

Medical:

  • Steroid injections into the hip joint

Surgical:

  • Hip replacement: not all patients are suitable for hip resurfacing.
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