Mr Hugh Blackley was the first to pioneer modern hip resurfacing in New Zealand in 2003. He was trained by the designers and remains a strong advocate for the technique. He has done the most hip resurfacings of any surgeon in New Zealand and currently does 2-3 per week. He remains the most experienced surgeon in New Zealand in the procedure and is on the Australiasian Surgical Advisory Panel for Birmingham Hip Resurfacing.
Hip Resurfacing surgery is approximately 90 minutes of set up and operating time. There is approximately 1 hour in the recovery room after surgery. Hip resurfacing surgery requires the removal of the diseased bone only. This means, the bone removed is minimized to 4-5mm from the head of the femur and approx 4-5mm from the acetabulum.
The incision is approximately 15-20cm in length and it runs over the outer edge of your hip joint. The scar line may not be completely flat immediately after surgery. This will settle down a few weeks after surgery. The operation itself is performed with the patient of their side. The surgical wound is closed with absorbable sutures.
Most surgery is carried out under an epidural spinal injection with sedation. It is safer way with a quicker recovery. You will not feel anything and can be fully asleep with an epidural. The epidural is removed 1-2 days after surgery. Post operative pain is well controlled with the epidural and oral medications. We try to avoid strong painkillers such as morphine because of side effects and they are not usually necessary. For most people the pain is less than that which they experience most days prior to surgery.
Hip Resurfacing is a particularly attractive option an alternative to total hip replacement for younger arthritic and active patients as the design permits a greater range of movement and a lower risk of dislocation. The surgery saves bone on the femoral side but removes slightly more bone on the socket side.
Unlike traditional hip replacement, resurfacing does not require removing the head of the femur (the bone in the upper leg) to replace it with an artificial ball. Instead, the head is reshaped and capped with a prosthetic that, as in the traditional procedure, fits into a man-made lining in the socket. Resurfacing uses a bigger ball, which makes dislocation less likely and gives the joint the ability to handle greater stress. Preserving the top of the femur is also an advantage if the hip requires subsequent work, which becomes more likely as the average age of hip patients, many of them quite active and determined to stay that way, falls.