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Hip Resurfacing Vs Hip Replacement

Hip Resurfacing Vs Hip Replacement

Hip resurfacing and hip replacement are the surgeries recommended for arthritis patients. Let us see what is the difference between these two surgeries, in this article.
Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Last Updated: Mar 7, 2018
Hip joint is a ball and socket type of joint. It is amongst the most important functional joints in the human body. However, over time, the cartilage between the joint wears out, leading to friction between the bones. This condition is called arthritis. Arthritis of hip joint greatly affects the mobility of the person, thereby deteriorating his quality of life. Rheumatoid arthritis, broken hip bone, bone tumors are other conditions which restrict the movement of a hip joint. In such cases, hip replacement surgery is often a prescribed option. However, owing to the advent of medical technology, some younger patients can benefit more from hip resurfacing surgery, rather than total hip replacement.

Surgery Procedure

As mentioned above, hip joint is a ball and socket type of joint with the head of femur acting as a ball inside the socket of pelvic girdle. The loss of lubrication between these two bones leads to arthritis. In hip resurfacing orthopedic surgery, the cartilaginous tissue on the head of the femur is capped off. A metal cap is then fitted on the smooth head of the femur. A metal cup is placed inside the pelvic girdle where the head of the femur fits in the socket of the pelvic girdle. The metal cup and cap allow smooth and free movement. Hip replacement surgery, on the other hand involves complete replacement of the hip joint. In this surgery a prosthetic ball along with a stem is inserted in the thigh bone. In this case, the head of the femur is not just capped off, instead, it is completely replaced with a metal ball.

Merits of Each Surgery

The biggest advantage of hip resurfacing surgery is that it preserves most of the hip bone, thereby elevating chances of a corrective surgery in future. This surgery is ideal for younger patients, who may not have severe form of arthritis. It is also helpful for older people who have otherwise strong and healthy bones. Since, most patients with hip resurfacing have to go for hip replacement at some point of time in their lives, prolonging the surgery time with resurfacing is always a good idea. This is due to the fact that even replacement surgery does not last for more than 15 - 20 years. Hence, the later the patient performs the surgery the better the chances, that it will last for his lifetime. Hip replacement is the ultimate surgery which offers maximum success rate and minimum complications. It can be performed on patients with osteoarthritis, who are not candidates for resurfacing.

Complications Involved in Each Surgery

Both the hip surgeries, resurfacing as well as replacement, involve fair amount of risks. These surgeries carry the usual risks of infection, clotting, complications through anesthesia etc. Besides, hip resurfacing can involve complications such as dislocation of the hip bone, fracture of femoral bone etc. Hip replacement complications include wearing of the prosthetic parts and recurrence of the hip pain symptoms. The success of resurfacing surgery is greatly determined by the expertise of the surgeon, hence it is not as common as hip replacement surgeries. It is always best to rely on a surgeon who has performed more than ten hip resurfacing surgeries. Some people with metal hypersensitivities are not recommended to go for resurfacing surgery. They can opt for replacement surgery which also makes use of ceramic or plastic prosthetics, apart from metal ones.

The recovery time is more for hip replacement, than the time taken for hip resurfacing surgery. After any of these surgeries, it is recommended that you perform some physiotherapy, hip exercises, under the supervision of a physiotherapist.
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