For younger patients hip joint resurfacing is an alternative to total hip replacement. This method is preferred as there is a good chance that the hip replacement of a younger person will need to be repeated and the second hip replacement is a more difficult procedure. Also younger people are more likely to be involved in activities not recommended after having surgery to replace the hip.
Hip joint resurfacing:
The two surfaces of the hip joint are replaced using this procedure. The femoral head is reshaped to accept a metal sphere instead of being removed. This greatly reduces the chance of dislocation compared to total hip replacement and gives the recipient a far better chance of participating in high level activities.
Who is suitable for hip joint resurfacing?
This type of treatment is normally performed on people under the age of 55 years unless the femoral head has been deformed by arthritis. It is very seldom done on people over 65 years old.
Results of hip joint resurfacing:
There are no known long term results to date as hip resurfacing has only been clinically performed for 10 years. What is known so far is that the results have been good and that the success rate is higher than the total hip replacement procedure for the first 10 years.
There are four common conditions that may be suitable for hip joint resurfacing:
• Osteoarthritis: People suffering from this disease have their cartilage between the acetabulum and the femoral head worn away which results in the two bones coming into contact. This contact is the reason for the pain and stiffness in the hip. The symptoms of Osteoarthritis are pain in the groin area as well as in the hip which will result in limping. It is possible that the pain will be constant as the condition worsens.
• Rheumatoid arthritis: Is a chronic disease that has long thought to be caused by a virus or bacteria. It causes pain, swelling, and stiffness in the hip.
• Avascular necrosis: This is caused by poor blood circulation starving the hip joint bones. If the lack of blood continues, over a period of time the bones will die and the hip will collapse. Two main causes of this are Alcoholism and corticosteroids .
Normally the patient is walking the day following surgery with crutches or walking sticks. They will then be given a program of physiotherapy which is absolutely essential for strengthening the muscles and protecting the new hip. Because of the pain suffered before the surgery the muscles are generally weak.
It is quite normal for patients to put their full weight on the hip within one week of surgery and they will be walking normally around 4-6 weeks. The surgeon will advise the patient on the amount of weight to put on the hip initially.