Patients with advanced arthritis of the hip may be candidates for either traditional total hip replacement (arthroplasty) or hip resurfacing (hip resurfacing arthroplasty). Each of these procedures is a type of hip replacement, but there are important differences. Your orthopaedic surgeon will talk with you about the different procedures and which operation would be best for you.
In a traditional total hip replacement, the head of the thighbone (femoral head) and the damaged socket (acetabulum) are both removed and replaced with metal, plastic, or ceramic components.
In hip resurfacing, the femoral head is not removed, but is instead trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering. The damaged bone and cartilage within the socket is removed and replaced with a metal shell, just as in a traditional total hip replacement.
Advantages of Hip Resurfacing
The advantages of hip resurfacing over traditional total hip replacements is an area of controversy among orthopaedic surgeons. A great deal of research is currently being done on this topic.
Hip resurfacings may be easier to revise.
Decreased risk of hip dislocation.
More normal walking pattern.
Greater hip range of motion.
What to expect
A hip resurfacing operation typically lasts between 1 1/2 and 3 hours. Your surgeon will make an incision in your thigh in order to reach the hip joint. 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. After the surgery you will be taken to the recovery room, where you will be closely monitored by nurses as you recover from the anesthesia. You will then be taken to your hospital room.