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Get Hip to Resurfacing

Nearly one in four Americans will develop osteoarthritis of the hip during his or her lifetime. According to Robert Barrack, MD, Washington University orthopedic surgeon, “Hip resurfacing is an option for patients with hip abnormalities, including osteoarthritis.

It is best suited for younger patients, particularly males, in their 40s and 50s, with good bone density who want to resume or maintain a high activity level.”

During a conventional hip replacement, both the head and neck of the thighbone, or femur, are removed and replaced with metal and plastic implants. With hip resurfacing, the head of the femur is resurfaced with a metal hip “joint” and the rest of the thighbone is left intact. By preserving more bone, it can usually eliminate pain while potentially offering high level function with fewer, if any, limitations.

Many younger, active patients have opted for hip resurfacing, rather than total hip replacement. “There’s a perception that the patient population for hip surgery is older, but that’s not always the case,” says Dr. Barrack. He says many baby boomers are developing arthritis at a younger age. The average age of a hip resurfacing patient is 50, and over 90% of them are male.

With total hip replacement, virtually all surgeons advise their patients to avoid high activity levels that involve impact (running or racquet sports) extreme positions (yoga or martial arts), or heavy lifting.

According to Dr. Barrack, “Most hip resurfacing patients are able to go back to very demanding occupations or sports that involve running, jumping or quick changes in direction. There’s been a long track record of allowing patients to return to these activities without any reported problems with the device introduced into the U.S. in 2006.”

Traditional hip replacement implants can have a limited life-span. Dr Barrack says that in addition to preserving the patient’s own bone, the hip resurfacing technique retains more bone, should further surgery become necessary.

“Some implants used in traditional hip replacement surgery are smaller than the bone that they replace,” says Barrack. “Hip resurfacing is designed to more closely match the size of the head of the femur bone, and we hope that will create greater stability and decrease the chances of dislocation, which is one of the most common complications of total hip replacement surgery.”

Several hundred of the procedures have now been performed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and the results have fulfilled the promise of returning the vast majority of young, very active patients to the activity that was most important to them.

For more information about hip resurfacing surgery or to make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists, please call one of the numbers listed below.

Patients are seen at:
Center for Advanced Medicine
Orthopedic Surgery

4921 Parkview Place, Suite 6A
St. Louis, MO  63110
To make an appointment at the above location, please call 314-747-2500

Washington University Orthopedics
14532 South Outer 40 Drive, Suite 210,
Chesterfield, MO  63017
To make an appointment at the above location, please call 314-514-3500
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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine