I'm a 45-year-old avid soccer player. But my right hip is wearing out. If I go for the newer hip joint resurfacing, how soon could I get back on the field?
Hip joint resurfacing was introduced several years ago to help younger patients who are more active and who would likely dislocate or wear out a total hip replacement. Surgeons found a way to replace the surface of the joint without removing the bone and replacing the entire joint. Bone is saved because the femoral head (round ball at the top of the thighbone) isn't cut off. And it isn't necessary to put a long stem down into the canal of the femur since the head isn't replaced.
All of these features of joint resurfacing make it possible for patients to extend the life of their own joint before a full joint replacement is needed. There is also some thought that joint resurfacing may preserve a more normal load transfer during gait (walking and running). If that is true, gait recovery could be added to the list of advantages for joint resurfacing over total hip replacement.
These are just a few of the many reasons why joint resurfacing has advantages over a total hip replacement for younger, more active adults. Research is underway to find ways to further maximize these benefits. Scientists are studying all aspects of the implant design, surgical technique, and rehab protocols.
Each surgeon has his or her own way to perform the operation. The approach, type of implant, incisions made, and fine-points of surgical technique can vary. So, it's the surgeon who ultimately must answer your question. You don't want to do anything to compromise what would otherwise be a perfect result. You can expect at least a 12 week postoperative recovery time. Six months of concentrated rehab is not unreasonable for someone who wants to participate in competitive sports such as soccer.
Ask your surgeon for a timeline to guide you. Make sure you understand what (if any) motions or activities are not advised and how long these restrictions should last. Participation in high-impact activities may be always restricted in order to protect and preserve the joint for as long as possible. Find out what your particular restrictions may be when making your final decision about this procedure.
Julie Nantel, MSc, et al. Gait Patterns After Total Hip Arthroplasty and Surface Replacement Arthroplasty. In The Archives of Medicine and Rehabilitation. March 2009. Vol. 90. No. 3. Pp. 463-469.
*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.