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Hip Resurfacing Surgery – An Alternative to Hip Replacement!

Quite unlike the conventional hip replacement, Hip resurfacing surgery will not completely replace “ball” of hip with ceramic or metal ball. Instead, hip resurfacing reshapes bone & caps with a metal prosthesis. Hip socket is subsequently fitted with a metallic cup. However, as these metal surfaces eventually rubbing together will cause potential wearing & release metal ions as a result. Lower levels of these metal ions usually do not cause any problem, but higher levels are definitely risky. Socket prosthesis for conventional hip replacement is generally lined with thick layer of hard plastic without any metal-on-metal contacts. These artificial hip components will wear out, but most patients undergoing hip replacement can expect them to last for at least 15 years. While hip resurfacing was originally seen as stop-gap arrangement for younger people with serious hip problems since it would leave more availability of bone for future hip replacement surgery, in the present circumstances it is generally recommended only in instances of severe deformity only allowing few other options. Nevertheless, best candidates for hip resurfacing appear to be younger folks with good quality of bone.

Hip Resurfacing

What is Hip Resurfacing Surgery?

Healthy hip is basically a ball & socket joint where bones are covered with smooth cartilage enabling acetabulum & femoral head to painlessly glide against each other. While head of the thigh bone & damaged socket are both removed & replaced with ceramic, plastic or metal components in conventional total hip replacement, hip resurfacing procedure will not involve removing femoral head but will instead only trim & cap it with a smooth metal covering. Damaged cartilage & bone within the socket is then removed & replaced with a metal shell just like it is done in conventional total hip replacement surgery.

Good Candidates for Hip Resurfacing Surgery

Doctors usually recommend surgery for patients having more advanced osteoarthritis when they have failed to effectively address through nonsurgical treatment options. Surgery therefore is only considered when the hip joint is significantly affecting quality of life & interfering with normal day-to-day activities. Unlike hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing procedure is not suitable for all patients. Best candidates for hip resurfacing surgery generally are much younger (usually less than 60 years of age), large framed which are always often males with healthy & strong bones. Older, female & small framed patients with weak or damaged bone pose higher risk of complications including femoral neck fractures. Therefore, a comprehensive evaluation of orthopedic surgeons is required so as to help determine who is a good candidate for hip resurfacing surgery.

Preparing For Hip Resurfacing Surgery

Patients will most likely be admitted to the hospital on the day of hip resurfacing surgery. Surgeons will evaluate patient’s health including medical history & choice of anesthesia which could have also been previously discussed during initial consultation. Choices for anesthesia can either be general which will put patients to sleep or spinal where the patient will be awake but lower body will be numb waist down. Surgeons will also examine & sign hip prior to surgery so as to verify surgical site.

Hip Resurfacing Surgery Procedure

Hip resurfacing operation will typically last anywhere between 90 – 180 minutes of time. Surgeons will make an incision in thigh so as to reach the hip joint. Femoral head is subsequently dislocated from the socket & trimmed using specially designed power instruments. A metal cap is then cemented over the newly prepared femoral head. Cartilage lining the socket is now removed with help of a power tool called reamer. Metal cup is then pushed into socket & held in place by using friction between bone & metal. Once metal cup is in place, femoral head is relocated back into the socket. Incisions are finally closed on completion of the procedure. Patients are taken to a recovery room after hip resurfacing surgery where they will be closely monitored by nurses as they recover from effects of anesthesia. Following this they will be shifted to a hospital room for overall observation & recovery.

Risks & Complications of Hip Resurfacing Surgery

There are risks involved with hip resurfacing surgery as with any other surgical procedure. Surgeons will discuss every risk with patients & take specific measures so as to avoid any potential complications.

Common Complications with Hip Resurfacing Surgery

These are however rare –

  • Risks from anesthesia.
  • Dislocation.
  • Femoral neck fracture.
  • Injury to nerves & blood vessels rarely occur when nerves or blood vessels are stretched & injured during the surgical procedure.
  • Infection – Patients however will be given antibiotics before starting hip resurfacing procedure & will be continued for 24 hours after surgery so as to prevent infection.
  • Blood clots within leg veins are the most common complication associated with hip resurfacing procedure. These blood clots can form in pelvis or deep veins of legs after surgery. Blood thinners like aspirin, low-molecular-weight heparin, warfarin or other such drugs can help prevent this problem.

Recovery from Hip Resurfacing Surgery

Patients go home within 1 – 4 days after hip resurfacing surgery in most cases. They may however begin putting weight on legs immediately after surgery depending upon strength of bone & surgeon’s preferences. Patients may require canes, walkers or crutches for the first few days or weeks until the time they become comfortable to walk without any assistance. Physical therapists will provide a menu of exercises so as to help maintain range of motion & restoration of strength. Patients must make it a point to continue seeing the orthopedic medical surgeon for follow up evaluation at prescribed intervals. Most patients are likely to resume daily normal activities by 6 weeks following hip resurfacing surgery.

Advantages of Hip Resurfacing Surgery

Great deal of research is currently being done to find out advantages of hip resurfacing surgery over conventional total hip replacement procedure.

  • Hip Resurfacing is Easier to ReviseSince implants used in hip replacement & hip resurfacing are mechanical components, they invariably wear out or loosen over a period of time. Typically occurring between 10 – 20 years following procedure, these implants may at times last shorter or longer depending upon wear & tear. Therefore, additional operation may be necessary when implants fail. Known as revision surgery, this second procedure may be far more complicated than the initial operation. Since hip resurfacing removes comparatively lesser bone material from femur than conventional hip replacement, surgeons agree to the fact that it is much easier to exchange implants which fail after hip resurfacing surgery.
  • Decreased Risk of Hip RelocationMuch closer to natural features, size of the ball is much larger in hip resurfacing procedure than after conventional hip replacement surgery. Therefore it is harder to dislocate after hip resurfacing. This stance is however controversial as several factors like surgical approach & size of type of implants also affect risk of dislocation.
  • Normal Walking PatternSeveral studies have indicated that walking patterns are far more natural among patients following hip resurfacing surgery when compared with conventional hip replacement treatment. Even if these differences in walking are quite subtle, they can be successfully measured using special instruments.

Hip Resurfacing Surgery in India

With a pool of highly qualified orthopedic surgeons, India is a favorite medical tourism destination providing a variety of affordable healthcare solutions including hip resurfacing & hip replacement surgeries for international patients. IndianMedTrip is an ideal online platform offering a wide spectrum of high-quality yet low-cost packages for people around the world so as to overcome all types of ailments. Starting from the first telephonic conversation, hassle-free IndianMedTrip services include selection of the right procedure & best hospital, warm reception, timely treatment without any waiting period, comfortable recuperation, follow-up evaluation & a warm farewell.


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