Question:I just got the results of my hip X-rays. One hip has arthritis but just at the top of the thigh bone. The round ball in the socket is all broken down. It's not really round anymore. Do I have to have a whole hip replacement just for one part?
Answer:Maybe not! You may have a couple choices. The first is called a hemiarthroplasty. The surgeon removes the round top of the femur (thighbone) and drills out some of the bone down inside the shaft. Then a replacement top and stem are inserted down into the bone.
Or if you are younger than 60 and have good bone stock, you may be able to have a hip resurfacing arthroplasty (HRA). In this operation, just the top or cap of the femoral head is removed and replaced. It's a lot like having a tooth capped by the dentist.
Your surgeon will be able to tell you both what is possible and what he or she can do. Not all surgeons perform all types of joint implants. Experience is important so it's a good idea to go with what your surgeon is skilled at doing. If you are a good candidate for a HRA, then you may want to go to a center where this operation is done routinely.Michael A. Mont, MD, et al. Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. August 2006. Vol. 14. No. 8. Pp. 454-463.
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