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Hip resurfacing

Hip resurfacing

Hip resurfacing surgery has been devised as a bone-conserving alternative procedure to total hip replacement to treat severe hip arthritis. It consists of placing a metal cap, made of a hollow cobalt-chromo alloy, over the head of the femur and a matching metal cup in the pelvis socket. Hip replacement strives to restore the functionality of the articulating surface of the hip joint.

One great advantage of hip resurfacing surgery is that very little bone is removed compared to a total hip replacement. Another huge improvement in the procedure is the undisturbed production of the synovial fluid, a thick straw-colored liquid, induced by the hip movement, which flows between the metal bearing surfaces and lubricates them.

It is particularly important to leave the surgical procedure to an experienced surgeon. Hip resurfacing abroad is a popular option nowadays, and patients may find an excellent surgeon overseas with much more accessible prices.

An Alternative For Total Hip Replacement

Some deterring disadvantages of conventional hip replacement, compared to hip resurfacing surgery are:

  • Increased amount of harmful metal ions flowing through the bloodstream.
  • High risk of bone fracture (particularly below the metal cap on top of the thighbone)
  • Excessive bone removal and less bone preservation
  • High chance of hip dislocation

On the other hand, hip resurfacing offers easier surgeries for subsequent revisions. Additionally, many surgeons are in favor of hip resurfacing because it doesn’t replace the ball of the hip completely, therefore, it is a better option for younger people who need more bone available for future hip replacements.

Nevertheless, hip resurfacing surgery is not recommended in instances where severe deformity of the hip offers little options. It also requires relatively young bones that are otherwise in good condition.

Hip Resurfacing – Procedure

Compared to total hip replacement, which requires the “ball” of the femur to be cut, hip resurfacing devices require the top head to be shaped in order to fit the underside of the cap.

Proper positioning of the components is crucial in the procedure, therefore, the importance of selecting a skilled and experienced surgeon cannot be stressed enough.

Patients under 60 are the best candidates for hip resurfacing, due to the necessity for additional revisions. Women are not good candidates because of the higher risk of fracture around the implant due to osteoporosis.

The procedure is performed through an incision similar to that of the standard hip replacement. It is intended to expose the arthritic joint and to remove the remaining cartilage. During the procedure, the metal cap is placed on the ball and a metal socket into the pelvis.

Among the most common complications, we find:

  • Fracture – mostly in poor bone quality patients, women and obese people.
  • Loosening – which happens progressively over time and requires hip replacement revision.
  • Metal ions released by the implants due to normal wear

The recovery period for hip resurfacing surgery is about 12 months.

Hip Resurfacing Abroad

Hip surfacing has seen tremendous advancement in developing countries over the past few years due to the increasing trend of medical tourism. Countries like Tunisia, India and Thailand offer competitive prices for hip replacement arthroplasty, ranging between $5,000 and $10,000, which is a fraction compared to countries like the U.S. and the U.K.

Make sure you request credentials and certificates from the surgeons if you are considering hip resurfacing abroad!