Fri May 18, 2007
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A new study shows that many active people are
able to get back into sports after having hip resurfacing, a less extensive
alternative to total hip replacement.
Swiss researchers found that, at an average of two years following surgery, 98
percent of 112 hip resurfacing patients were exercising regularly, in activities
ranging from cycling and walking to skiing and jogging.
Hip resurfacing is a relatively new procedure used to treat severe hip arthritis
and other forms of hip degeneration.
It’s primarily intended for younger, more active adults who want to defer total
hip replacement, which doesn’t last a life-time and is often less successful the
second time around.
Like hip replacement, hip resurfacing is major surgery, but it leaves more of
the patient’s bone intact. A surgeon reshapes the head of the thigh bone and
covers it with a metal cap; a metal cup is placed inside the hip socket to
create a metal-on-metal joint.
In contrast, traditional hip replacements involve cutting away the head of the
thigh bone and replacing it with a metal implant. A plastic implant is placed in
the hip socket. Over time, the implants can wear and loosen, particularly if a
person is physically active.
Younger, active patients may opt for hip resurfacing with the hope of returning
to their vigorous lifestyle. But it’s been unclear how often they actually do,
according to Dr. Florian Naal and colleagues at the Schulthess Clinic in Zurich.
Of the 112 hip resurfacing patients they surveyed, 110 were back to their active
lives, regularly engaging in four to five activities and sports, on average.
Many were still into vigorous activities like downhill skiing, tennis and
contact sports, though the percentages were lower compared with before surgery.
Overall, 85 percent said they felt "good" or "excellent" during their
Naal’s team reports the findings in the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
The results show that hip resurfacing patients can return to a high level of
physical activity, according the researchers, and so far, none of the patients
in the study has shown signs of implant loosening.
However, they add, it’s not yet clear how well hip resurfacing implants hold up
in the long term. "Only the future can reveal whether hip resurfacing
arthroplasties will produce less wear over time than other implants," the
SOURCE: American Journal of Sports Medicine, May 2007.