Having Hip Resurfacing

Hip resurfacing is a type of hip surgery to replace a damaged hip joint. The procedure is done by an orthopedic surgeon. This is a doctor with special training in treating bone, joint, and muscle problems.

What to tell your healthcare provider

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen. It also includes vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. And tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Have had any recent changes in your health, such as an infection or fever

  • Are sensitive or allergic to any medicines, latex, tape, or anesthesia (local and general)

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant

Tests before your surgery

Before your surgery, you may need imaging tests. These may include CT scan, ultrasound, X-rays, or MRI. Your healthcare provider will tell you more about these tests.

Getting ready for your surgery

Talk with your healthcare provider how to get ready for your surgery. You may need to stop taking some medicines before the procedure, such as blood thinners and aspirin. If you smoke, you may need to stop before your surgery. Smoking can delay healing. Talk with your healthcare provider if you need help to stop smoking.

Also, make sure to:

  • Ask a family member or friend to take you home from the hospital

  • Not eat or drink after midnight the night before your surgery

  • Follow all other instructions from your healthcare provider

You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully. Ask questions if something is not clear.

Planning for recovery

You will also need to plan some changes at home to help you recover. Talk with your healthcare provider about how you need to prepare for your recovery. You may need to:

  • Go to a rehabilitation facility or have rehab at home

  • Get extra help at home with bathing and dressing, meals, or shopping

  • Make changes to your home to prevent falls and make your recovery easier, such as a raised toilet seat, grab bars, or handrails

On the day of your surgery

Your orthopedic surgeon will work with a team of specialized nurses. The surgery can be done in several ways. This surgery may be done in one incision (open surgery) or a few smaller incisions (minimally invasive). Ask your doctor about the details of your surgery. The whole procedure may take a couple of hours. In general, you can expect the following:

  • You will likely have general anesthesia, a medicine that allows you to sleep through the surgery. You won’t feel any pain during the surgery. Or you may have medicine to numb the area (regional anesthesia) and medicine to help you relax and sleep (sedation) through the surgery.

  • After cleaning the skin, the surgeon makes a cut (incision) through the skin and muscles near the hip.

  • The surgeon takes the femoral head out of the joint socket. He or she trims the head with special tools. A metal cap is cemented over the head.

  • The surgeon removes damaged cartilage and bone from the joint socket.

  • The surgeon places a metal cup into the socket. Screws may be used to hold it in place.

  • The surgeon places the femoral head back in the socket.

  • The surgeon closes the layers of muscle and skin with stitches or staples.

  • A healthcare provider will watch your vital signs such as your heart rate and blood pressure during the surgery.

  • You may be given antibiotics during and after the surgery. This is to help prevent infection.

After your surgery

Talk to your surgeon about what you can expect after your surgery. Before leaving the hospital, you will likely have X-rays taken of your hip. This is to check the repair.

Recovering at home

You will have some pain after the surgery. Your doctor will tell you what pain medicine you can take to help reduce the pain. You can also use ice packs to help lessen pain and swelling. You might have some fluid draining from your incision. This is normal.

You will get instructions about how you can move your hip and leg. You may need to use crutches, a cane, or walker for a few days or weeks.

Follow all of your doctor’s instructions carefully. Your surgeon may tell you to:

  • Take prescription medicine to prevent blood clots

  • Not take certain over-the-counter medicines for pain that may interfere with bone healing

  • Eat foods high in calcium and vitamin D to help with bone healing

Follow-up care

Make sure to keep all of your follow-up appointments. You may need to have your stitches or staples removed a week or so after your surgery.

You may have physical therapy. This is to improve the strength and movement of your leg. The therapy may include treatments and exercises. The therapy improves your chances of a full recovery. Most people are able to return to many of their normal activities within 6 weeks of the surgery.

You may need another hip surgery 10 to 20 years after your first hip resurfacing surgery. You can help delay when you will need a follow-up surgery by doing regular exercise and preventing falls.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Fever of 100.4°F (38.0°C) or higher, or chills

  • Redness, swelling, or fluid leaking from your incision that gets worse

  • Pain in your hip or leg that gets worse