Most people with Hip Arthritis will be offered surgery once the conservative management of the condition is no longer effective and the pain and disability compromises everyday activities. The most common procedure involves a total hip replacement (THR) where the arthritic joint is replaced with a prosthetic implant. However, more recent developments have produced surgical treatments that aim to preserve the bone in the hip joint using the techniques of hip resurfacing and hip preservation surgery.
Hip preservation surgery is a relatively new technique that can treat a number of problems with the hip such as femoroacetabular impingement (FAI), labral tears, early onset arthritis and many other non-arthritic pathologies of the hip. FAI is caused by hip deformities in hip joint (ball and/or socket) that can lead to abnormal wearing away of the articular or labral cartilage and eventually leading to arthritis.
Many experts believe that FAI is a major factor in the development of Hip Arthritis and that nearly half of patients that eventually undergo hip replacement surgery perhaps would have benefited from hip preservation surgery.
Not all patients are ideal candidates for hip preservation surgery, but for those that are the operation is generally performed arthroscopically (key hole). The advantage of arthroscopic surgery is that patients can recover much quicker than with conventional surgery. However, as this is highly specialised, there are only a small number of surgeons in the UK that use this technique.
Hip resurfacing is a more conservative than total hip replacement. The main purpose is to preserve as much of your own bone as possible while removing all the areas of cartilage degeneration thus removing the pain while maintaining as much of the original functionality of the hip as possible.
This is not a common procedure and the surgeon requires specialised skills to perform this technique.
Total Hip Replacement
The majority of patients suffering from Hip Arthritis will at some point require full hip replacement surgery due an increase in pain caused by further degeneration of the hip joint.
Full hip replacement surgery is an invasive surgical treatment, which aims to ease a patient’s pain by entirely replacing the joint with a new artificial joint. This is conventional open surgery that takes place under general anaesthetic. This operation usually takes around 1 – 2 hours. Recovery post operation is typically 3 – 4 months but this can be longer depending on your physical condition prior to the operation.