Patients with advanced arthritis of the hip may be candidates for either traditional total hip replacement (arthroplasty) or hip resurfacing (hip resurfacing arthroplasty). Each of these procedures is a type of hip replacement, but there are important differences. Surface replacement of the hip is an alternative to traditional hip replacement for the treatment of conditions such as osteoarthritis, a vascular necrosis, and post-traumatic arthritis. It provides a bone-conserving artificial hip joint and is designed to preserve the bones for younger, active patients. In hip resurfacing, the femoral head is not removed, but is instead trimmed and capped with a smooth metal covering. The damaged bone and cartilage within the socket is removed and replaced with a metal shell, just as in a traditional total hip replacement. Before your procedure, a doctor from the anesthesiology department will evaluate you. He or she will review your medical history and discuss anesthesia choices with you. You should also have discussed anesthesia choices with your surgeon during your preoperative clinic visits. Anesthesia can be either general (you are put to sleep) or spinal (you are awake but your body is numb from the waist down). You may begin putting weight on your leg immediately after surgery, depending on your doctor's preferences and the strength of your bone. You may need a walker, cane, or crutches for the first few days or weeks until you become comfortable enough to walk without assistance. A physical therapist will give you exercises to help maintain your range of motion and restore your strength.
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