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Leeds Hospital

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

0113 388 2111 0113 301 0245 (fax)
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For some patients total hip replacement may not be the best solution. Unlike hip replacement, hip resurfacing provides a new surface for the femur head (the bone that attaches the leg to your pelvis) and the socket in your pelvis (acetabulum). The procedure retains more bone. Your surgeon will discuss this procedure with you and advise if you are a candidate for hip resurfacing.

What happens during hip resurfacing?

A variety of anaesthetic techniques is possible. The operation usually takes between 1 and 1.5 hours. 

Your surgeon will make a cut on the side of your hip and will remove and clean the damaged joint surfaces. They will then insert new surfaces, made of metal, ceramic or plastic onto the ball and socket. The resurfacing components are fixed to the bone using acrylic cement or special coatings on the metal that bond directly to the bone.

After your hip resurfacing

Once your operation is over, you’ll be taken to the recovery room where you will wake from the anaesthetic. Your wound, blood pressure and pulse will be checked carefully. You will have a large dressing covering your wound. When you are stable and comfortable, a nurse will take you back to your room.

Back in your room

Once back in your room, our nursing team will continue to check on you to make sure you are recovering well. Try not to touch or disturb your dressings as this can introduce infection. If you notice any bleeding or have any pain, don’t hesitate to speak to one of our nurses.

After you’ve recovered from any effects of the anaesthetic, you can have something to eat and drink.

While you are in bed, you may have help with the circulation in your legs, in order to prevent blood clots (DVT). The first day or so you could wear boots on your legs that are inflated with air. You will also wear support stockings to help your circulation and may have daily injections or tablets to help prevent blood clotting that may continue for up to 6 weeks. Also we may encourage you to move your legs if you are able.

Going home after hip resurfacing

A physiotherapist will give you some exercises to help get your resurfaced hip moving. These are important to help you make a good recovery. You may be using crutches or a walker. When you are able to walk up and down stairs, you can go home. You won’t be able to drive, so you will need someone to come and take you home from the hospital, once you have been discharged.

It’s usual to return to see your consultant as an outpatient after your operation. You may also need to have stitches removed. You’ll be given information about these appointments before you go home. We’ll also give you some pain relief medication to take with you.

How soon will I recover from hip resurfacing?

Everyone recovers from major surgery differently. When you get home, you will be tired and should rest. However, it’s also important to aim to gradually increase your physical activity each day, so you should continue with the exercises the physiotherapist showed you. These will help to reduce stiffness and strengthen your legs. You will need to keep using a walker, crutches or a walking stick for a while.

To help you regain mobility, it’s recommended that you take any pain relief medication we have prescribed. Continue taking this until you are pain free.

So you don’t damage your new hip and to help your wound heal, you should:

  • Avoid bending your new hip beyond 90 degrees
  • Avoid rolling your leg towards the other leg
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Avoid twisting on your new hip when standing
  • Use the shower instead of the bath
  • Keep wearing your support stockings - you may have to do so for four to six weeks.

If you have any questions or concerns about your restrictions be sure and ask a member of the Healthcare Team or the Physiotherapist. 

Most people make a good recovery and return to normal activities following hip resurfacing. As with any surgery there can be complications.

General complications of any operation:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • Unsightly scarring
  • Blood clots
  • Difficulty passing urine
  • Chest infection
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Specific complications of hip resurfacing:

  • Break of the femur
  • Damage to nerves around the hip
  • Damage to blood vessels around the hip
  • Infection in the hip
  • Loosening of the implant
  • Bone forming in muscles around the hip replacement
  • Dislocation
  • Continued discomfort