by Michael Jubinville, MPH
Joint resurfacing is a procedure that removes damaged joint tissue and uses a metal cap to create a new, smooth joint surface.
Resurfacing may be done on the hip, shoulder, or knee joints which are more prone to degenerative arthritis or wear and damage.
Joint resurfacing may be done as part of treatment after an injury or for joints with arthritis or that have worn down over time. In either situation, damaged tissue in the joint is causing pain and making it difficult for normal function.
Joint resurfacing may be considered:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Before surgery, you will meet with your doctor for a physical exam, medical history, and tests. You may have blood tests.
Imaging studies that may be done to evaluate the joint and surrounding tissue include:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to two weeks before the procedure such as:
You may be given either:
An incision will be made along the joint. Muscles, tendons, and ligaments will be carefully moved aside. The joint may be moved from its normal position so that the surgeon will have access to the damaged area.
Damaged sections of tissue that lies over the bones, called cartilage, may be removed and smoothed down. Any excess build-up of bone will also be removed. A metal cap will be placed over the newly cleaned surface. If needed, a metal cup or plastic surface will be placed on the opposite joint surface as well. This is usually done with the hip or knee, but not the shoulder. When the repairs are done the joint will be returned to its normal place. Muscles and tendons will be moved back into place and the incision will be closed. A bandage may be placed over the incision.
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
The hospital stay is usually about 1-4 days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Physical therapy will be started soon after surgery to get the joint moving. This therapy will help to regain the range of motion and strength of the joint. The therapist will also help you understand how to use assistive devices you may need as you heal.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
You may need assistive devices once you are home. The devices will help support your joint until healing can be completed. The length of time you will have the assistive devices will depend on what joint is affected, how much work is done, and your overall health.
You may need assistance with some daily tasks. It may take about six weeks before returning to normal activity. The doctor and therapist will give guidance on returning to work.
The doctor should be contacted if there is:
Call for emergency medical services right away for:
Pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that is lodged in the lungs, which may cause:
Deep vein thrombosis, an obstructive blood clot (mainly in the leg), which may cause:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American College of Surgeons
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Association of General Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Hip resurfacing. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00586. Updated June 2010. Accessed February 26, 2014.
Joint resurfacing. Colorado Springs Orthopaedic Group website. Available at: http://www.csog.net/AreasofExpertise/JointResurfacing.aspx#HipResurfacing. Accessed February 26, 2014.
Knee joint resurfacing surgery. Massachusetts General Hospital website. Available at: http://www.massgeneral.org/ortho/services/sports/rehab/Knee%20Joint%20Resurfacing%20Protocol.pdf. Accessed February 26, 2014.
Shoulder joint replacement. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00094. Updated December 2011. Accessed February 26, 2014.
Total hip arthroplasty. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated February 20, 2014. Accessed February 26, 2014.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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