Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Alternative Has Poor Outcome

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hip replacement alternative

A study this week questions the efficacy of what has become a very popular hip surgery alternative for hip arthritis patients-hip resurfacing. The hip replacement alternative involves removing less bone than a total hip replacement and placing a cap over the femur head rather than removing it all together. This method of hip replacement burst on the scene about 5-10 years ago with the “Birmingham Hip” and we saw many younger and more active patients chose this less invasive option. First there were major issues with metal wear particles caused by the metal on metal hip devices. Now it seems, at least based on this study, that the outcomes from the surgery aren’t great. For example, for male patients with smaller femoral heads or female patients, hip resurfacing isn’t as effective as hip replacement. In addition, for women, many more of these implants were failing at 5 years than traditional hip replacement devices. One of the rationales for hip resurfacing was that it might be better for younger and more active patients, since in patients under 55, only 72% of traditional hip implants last 10 years. However, this study shows that 5 year revision rates for hip resurfacing were almost double that for traditional devices. The upshot? For smaller men and all women, hip resurfacing doesn’t appear to be a good option. In addition, due to the wear particle issue, in our opinion any patient needs to be wary of a metal on metal prosthesis like the type used in this surgery.

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