Hip Resurfacing vs Replacement

Hip Resurfacing vs Replacement 2017-01-24T08:03:03+00:00

Hip Care in Rocklin, California

One of the body’s largest joints, the hip is integral to many movements, including standing, walking, climbing, and turning. While any hip damage will likely result in a degree of pain and discomfort, extensive injury can inhibit the ability to complete even basic everyday activities. Based on a patient’s unique symptoms and the level of damage present, Dr. Gotham will determine a best approach for hip treatment and function recovery.

Hip damage can result from general wear-and-tear or traumatic injury; however, one of the most common causes of debilitative pain and deterioration is osteoarthritis. Often a result of the aging process, this condition is associated with cartilage breakdown, which creates joint stiffness and discomfort during movement.

Other conditions that may lead to substantial hip damage, include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Physical abnormalities
  • Events of injury or infection

Regardless of the cause, hip damage is often progressive in nature, starting as a dull and aching pain before worsening over time. As the joint is weight-bearing and centrally located, patients may require the eventual assistance of a cane or other crutch when walking, as well as find difficulty in dressing, sleeping, and the like.

When determining the best approach for hip treatment, Dr. Gotham will employ an extensive examination, including a general health assessment and symptom history. Basic strength and flexibility tests will likely be applied, as well as diagnostic imaging efforts, such as an X-Ray, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), or CT scan.

Based on the level and type of damage present, it will be determined if the femoral head (end of the thighbone) should be surgically replaced along with the socket component. Whether or not the femoral head should be removed determines whether a resurfacing or replacement procedure will be undertaken.

During a hip resurfacing operation, the femoral head is not removed. Instead, surgical efforts focus on the acetabulum (hip socket), as damaged bone and cartilage within this component are removed. While the socket will be replaced with a prosthesis, the femoral head will be capped with a smooth covering for smooth surface-to-surface contact.

In general, hip resurfacing procedures are easier to revise than full replacements. In addition, many patients report a more normal feel and function, as a greater range of joint motion is achieved. Patients undergoing hip resurfacing tend to be younger, and some will become candidates for total hip replacement later in life.

Total hip replacement entails the removal of the full femoral head, which like the socket, will be replaced by a prosthetic component. A replacement procedure may be performed on either an arthroscopic, or more invasive basis, depending on the degree of damage present. Likewise, factors such as patient size and bone structure will also impact the approach selected.

During this procedure, a combination of screws, pins, and bone cement will be used to hold the replacement components in place. Over time, bone regrowth will help secure the prosthesis in place, allowing for the most natural function possible.

Whether a resurfacing or total replacement procedure is undertaken, it will be important to follow Dr. Gotham’s prescribed approach for post-op recovery and rehabilitation. Typically following either surgery, the patient will remain in the hospital or medical facility for 2-5 days. Length of stay will be determined by a range of factors, including overall patient health.

In most cases, a combination of anti-inflammatory medications, painkillers, and physical therapy will be prescribed for patient use. In addition, alterations to home or office environments may be recommended for the avoidance of hip stress and potential re-injury.

Throughout the recovery process, regular visits with Dr. Gotham and the orthopedic team will be required for successful monitoring of the healing process. As with any medical procedure, there are risks associated with both resurfacing and total hip replacement surgeries. If any unexpected symptoms or concerns arise, the medical team should be contacted immediately.

Hip Resurfacing and Replacement: Dr. David Gotham

Dr. David Gotham, Jr. is committed to providing the highest quality orthopedic care, tailored to each individual patient’s needs. If you suffer from debilitating hip pain, contact his Rocklin, CA office at 916-771-9555.