Finding out that you need surgery is scary. It’s even more overwhelming when the body part that needs surgical intervention is a large joint, such as your hips.
However, bypassing it when simple things such as walking and standing up are difficult can severely affect your quality of life.
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we want you to live your life in full motion. We also want you to have peace of mind about the procedures we provide so that you can make an informed decision confidently. This is why we’d like you to take a moment to read about the Birmingham hip resurfacing procedure, a cutting-edge surgery that is a significant improvement from traditional hip replacement operations.
Basic Hip Anatomy and Traditional Hip Replacement Surgery
Our femurs (thigh bones) are connected to the pelvis (hip bones) by two ball-and-socket joints, with the “ball” being the top portion of the femur (also called the femoral head). On healthy hips, the femoral heads fit perfectly into the “sockets” (also called the acetabulum) on the pelvis.
Both the ball and the socket are covered in cartilage, which prevents friction between the bones when a person moves their legs.
When a person undergoes a traditional hip replacement surgery, the entire hip joint is removed and replaced with either metal or durable plastic components. The Birmingham hip replacement surgery is significantly less invasive.
Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Procedure
During a Birmingham hip resurfacing procedure, the orthopedic surgeon will only replace the portion of the joint that is damaged, instead of replacing the entire hip joint. This is a great alternative for physically active patients.
Another benefit of the Birmingham procedure is that the new joints last significantly longer than the typical 15 – 20 years for other types of hip replacements, making it a practical option for younger patients.
Why Birmingham Hip Resurfacing?
At The Orthopedic Clinic, we believe that surgery can be an effective option, but needs to be agreed upon by the physician and patient after other treatments haven’t helped.
If the physician and patient agree on surgery, we provide innovative hip treatments like Birmingham hip resurfacing. The advantages of our approach to Birmingham hip resurfacing include:
- Less bone removal
- Lower risk of hip dislocation
- Lower risk of revision
- May be performed as an outpatient procedure
How Does Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Work?
If you’re considering having this procedure performed or have already decided to have it done, you may want to know how your surgeon will perform it. Here’s what you can expect:
- Total hip replacement requires the removal of the femoral head and the insertion of a hip stem down the shaft of the femur.
- Hip resurfacing, on the other hand, preserves the femoral head and the femoral neck.
- During the procedure, your surgeon will only remove a few centimeters of bone around the femoral head, shaping it to fit tightly inside the Birmingham hip resurfacing implant.
- Your surgeon will also prepare the acetabulum (the “socket”) for the metal cup that will form the socket portion of the ball-and-socket joint.
- While the resurfacing component slides over the top of the femoral head like a tooth cap, the acetabular component is pressed into place much like a total hip replacement component would be.
Read more about Total Joint Replacement.
Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Recovery
One of the critical success factors for a positive outcome is following the physical rehabilitation process.
In order to help achieve the goals for a successful hip resurfacing procedure, you must actively participate in the rehab process and work diligently on your own, as well as with the physical therapists, to achieve optimal results.
Your recovery program usually begins the day after surgery. The rehabilitation team will work together to provide the care and encouragement needed during the first few days after surgery.
The physical therapist will begin as early as 1-2 days after surgery. They will teach you some simple exercises to do in bed that will strengthen the muscles in the hip and lower extremity. These exercises may include:
- Gluteal Sets: Tighten and relax the buttock muscles
- Quadricep Sets: Tighten and relax the thigh muscles
- Ankle Pumps: Flex and extend the ankles
Your physical therapist will also teach you proper techniques to perform simple tasks such as:
- Moving up and down in bed
- Lying to sitting
- Sitting to standing
- Standing to sitting
- Sitting to lying
Although these are simple activities, you must learn to do them safely so that the hip does not dislocate or suffer other injuries.
Another important goal for early physical therapy is learning to walk safely with an appropriate assistive device (usually a walker or crutches). Your surgeon will determine how much weight you can bear on your new hip, and your therapist will teach you the proper techniques for walking on level surfaces and stairs with the assistive device. Improper use of the assistive device raises the chance of accident or injury.
The occupational therapist will also visit with you to teach you how to perform activities of daily living safely. They will provide you with a list of hip precautions that are designed to protect your new hip during the first 8-12 weeks following surgery.
Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Precautions After Hip Surgery
- Do not bend forward to reach your feet. You must maintain a 90 degree angle between your torso and legs
- Do not lift your knee higher than your hip on the operated side
- Do not cross your legs
- Do not allow your legs to internally rotate (feet turned in)
- Do not twist while lying or standing
- Sleep on your back with a pillow between your knees to prevent crossing
- Strictly observe your weight bearing precautions during standing or walking
Also, the occupational therapist will instruct you in the proper use of various long-handled devices for activities of daily living. These devices may include the following:
- A reacher to dress and pick things up from the floor
- A sock-aid that will assist in putting on socks
- A long-handled sponge to wash your legs and feet
- A leg-lifting device to move the operated leg in and out of the car or bed
- An elevated toilet seat so that you don’t violate your hip precautions when using the bathroom
- An elevated bathtub chair to fit in the shower or tub
Recovering From Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Surgery at Home
Following surgery, a physical therapist may help you with your rehabilitation protocol. In addition to the exercises done with the therapist, you should continue to work on the hip exercises in your free time.
It’s also important to continue to walk on a regular basis to further strengthen your hip muscles. An exercise and walking program helps to enhance your recovery from surgery and helps make activities of daily living easier to manage.
While at home, you will continue to walk with the assistive device until directed by your surgeon to discontinue use.
You must also remember to strictly follow the hip precautions and weight bearing instructions during the first few months following surgery.
It’s recommended that you not drive unless you have been approved by your doctor.
Life After Hip Resurfacing Surgery
After you’ve completed your hip rehabilitation, you should experience an improved range of motion and have strength in your hip to return to most everyday activities.
Below are a few warnings to keep in mind after your hip resurfacing surgery. Remember to listen to what your body tells you. If you begin to have pain or swelling, contact your physician for advice.
- Take care to protect your new hip from too much stress and follow your surgeon’s instructions regarding activity level.
- Do not perform high impact activities such as running and jumping during the first year following your surgery, to allow your hip bones to heal properly.
Are You Having Trouble Walking Due to Hip Pain?
Our hip specialists can help. We can help you determine the source of your pain to create a custom treatment plan for your needs, so you can get back to the things you love to do.Schedule an Appointment Today!