Message from Your Surgeons

Welcome from your surgeons, Sky Lakes Medical Center, and your health care team. We will all be working with you in partnership to prepare you for your joint replacement surgery. You are our most important team member. Together, we will accomplish our team goals of: effective preparation, successful surgical procedure, smooth recovery, and finally, a safe discharge.

Your care will be coordinated by your surgeon and a team of Sky Lakes Medical Center nurses. Other members of the health care team will also be available to assist you, as necessary. They include: physician assistants, physical therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, and
dietitians.

Our goal is to return you to your maximum functional ability. You play a vital role in reaching that goal. Recovery is a process that starts before you enter the hospital with education and participation. When you complete your hospital stay, recovery carries on at home and throughout your life. We could not achieve the expected outcomes without your hard work and effort. We hope this information will assist you in preparing for your surgical procedure and will help to facilitate your recovery. Please, read it carefully and feel free to ask questions of any team
member.

Anterior Hip Replacement

In traditional hip replacement surgery, the doctor cuts through the buttock muscles to reach the hip joint. Anterior hip surgery allows the doctor to cut through the front of the hip, using a small incision. In this approach, the surgeon is able to move the muscles aside rather than cutting through them.

Anterior hip replacement creates less damage and trauma to the soft issues around the hip, allowing a quicker recovery time. In addition, there is a lower risk of dislocating the new hip because muscles used to support the hip joint remain strong.

However, there’s a risk of damage to a nerve in the front of the leg during surgery, so some patients may feel numbness or tingling in the front of the leg. People who are large, or muscular, or who have a wide pelvis may not be eligible for anterior hip replacement.

Anterior hip replacement isn’t available in many communities because it requires special equipment in the operating room and specially trained surgeons. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has several orthopedic surgeons who are skilled and experienced in this type of hip replacement. They have done hundreds of anterior hip replacements, and are happy to consult with you if you’d like to explore this option.

Hip Arthroscopy

Hip arthroscopy is minimally invasive surgery that allows your doctor to repair some painful hip problems using very small incisions, which results in faster, easier recovery.

Our orthopedic surgeons are highly skilled and experienced in hip arthroscopy. They usually perform the procedure in one of our outpatient surgery centers so patients do not need to stay overnight in a hospital.

During hip arthroscopy, your doctor inserts a small telescope called an arthroscope into your hip through an incision about the width of the top of a straw. Images of the inside of your hip are projected onto a computer screen. Your doctor makes one or more small cuts to insert miniature surgical tools that can shave, trim, stitch or smooth the damaged area of your hip. The doctor views the inside of your hip on the computer screen throughout the surgery.

Hip arthroscopy may be used to treat many problems with the cartilage and soft tissue in the hip, including:

  • Cartilage injuries
  • Dysplasia and labral tears
  • Hip impingement, also called femoroacetabular impingement (FAI)
  • Hip joint infection
  • Loose fragments of bone or cartilage in the hip joint
  • Synovitis, inflamed tissue around the hip joint
  • Tendon or ligament injuries

Many people return to full activity after hip arthroscopy, although your recovery depends on the damage to your hip before surgery. Some people may need to modify high-impact activities such as running, and instead take up swimming or bicycling. Your doctor will outline the best activities for you.

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Hip Replacement Surgery

Hip replacement surgery offers hope and concrete results for people who live with chronic hip pain and limited mobility. The surgery can ease pain and improve function in most people. Still, choosing hip replacement surgery requires careful planning and consideration. PAMF orthopedists support you every step of the way.

Our surgeons are highly skilled in the latest techniques, resulting in faster recovery. Today, hip replacements last decades, improving the lives of many as we age. But it is important to have realistic expectations. After you recover from surgery, you should be able to do the activities you could do before your joint replacement, with less pain. The surgery won’t fix problems unrelated to joint pain.

During hip replacement surgery, your doctor removes damaged cartilage and the damaged bone on the head of your femur. This is called the femoral head, and it is part of your thigh bone. The surgeon also removes the damaged cartilage from within the hip socket. Then the surgeon inserts a new socket with a bearing surface made of strong, cross-linked polyethylene. The femoral head, made of either metal or ceramic, is attached to a metal stem piece that fits inside the hollow center of your femur.

Hip Resurfacing

Hip resurfacing is an alternative to a total hip replacement intended for younger, active adult men, particularly those 55 years old and younger.
In hip resurfacing, the head of your thighbone (femur) and the socket are trimmed and capped with cobalt chrome.

Hip resurfacing preserves more of a person’s natural bone than a traditional hip replacement. As you may know, in a total hip replacement the surgeon removes the entire femoral head and secures the artificial head onto a metal shaft placed down into the femur bone.

Because hip resurfacing cuts away less bone, patients are less likely to have different leg lengths after surgery. Also, if a second hip surgery is needed in the future, it’s an easier procedure. You can always have a total hip replacement after hip resurfacing, but you can never have hip resurfacing after a total hip replacement.

Hip resurfacing offers a few other key benefits:

Large Head and Cup: Greater Range of Motion

The hip resurfacing implant has a larger head and cup than most traditional hip replacement implants. This allows for an increased range of motion and a decreased risk of hip dislocation.

Less Thigh Pain and Quicker Recovery

The stem on a traditional hip replacement goes down the femur, whereas the hip resurfacing has a much shorter stem down the femoral neck. This decreases thigh pain felt after a total hip replacement, leading to quicker recovery.

Advanced Implant Materials

The implant head and the cup are both made of cobalt chrome. This metal on metal component decreases wear on the implanted joint and reduces particulate debris.

Hip resurfacing is intended for young, active adults who are 55 or younger and have good bone density. Active adults 55 and younger may also be considered if their bones are sufficiently dense. Not everyone is a good candidate for hip resurfacing. In some people, hip arthritis results in deformity of the hip socket or the head of the femur. Hip resurfacing is not advised in these cases.

The Palo Alto Medical Foundation offers a complete Hip Resurfacing Program, led by skilled surgeons who have extensive experience in this alternative to hip replacements. They are happy to consult with you if you’d like to explore this option.