There has been a lot of discussion recently in public forums about hemi resurfacing. Hemi resurfacings are not normally used by the most experienced hip resurfacing surgeons. I have been privileged to personally speak with many of them and I know their negative feelings about hemi resurfacing.
Performing a hemi resurfacing is like only doing half the job. The past history of hemi resurfacing has shown it to be a poor choice for most patients. Hemi resurfacing did not have good long term results. The basic simple explanation is that a hemi resurfacing only placed a metal cap on the femur bone and not a metal bearing surface in the acetabulum of the hip. This resulted in a hard metal surface rubbing against cartilage and unprotected bone of the hip. Some hemi resurfacing patients were lucky and did not require revision surgeries, but most required revision of their early hemi resurfacings to a THR. The early hemis were not convertible to total hip resurfacings.
Surgeons explain that a modern hemi resurfacing can possibly be converted to a total hip resurfacing if the femur cap was placed properly. Since the really experienced hip resurfacing surgeons don’t use hemi resurfacings, a patient will normally receive such a surgery from a less experienced hip resurfacing surgeon or even a THR surgeon. Sometimes a hemi resurfacing never stops the hip pain a patient experienced due to the metal on bone situation a hemi resurfacing causes. If the hemi resurfacing is successful in the short term, it is very unlikely that it could last even two years in a very active person according to most experienced hip resurfacing surgeons. So why would a patient want to accept a surgery that would require a second major revision of their hemi resurfacing after only a couple years? Also such a revision might not be convertible to a total hip resurfacing if the femur cap was not placed properly.
Therefore, hemi resurfacing is not suggested by the experienced hip resurfacing surgeons. They prefer to do a total hip resurfacing with both a metal cap on the femur bone and a metal cup in the acetabulum of the hip. This is a complete metal bearing device that has developed a history of success for many years. Some metal on metal hip resurfacings are currently still successful at over 16 years. Technically, hip resurfacing will last as long if not longer than a THR. Although modern hip resurfacing is still a newer surgery option, it is quickly proving to be a long term, successful surgery compared to the old hemi resurfacing option.
Hemi resurfacing in theory appears to be an atttractive idea. However experience has proved otherwise. In a hemi resurfacing, the metal cap articulates with the natural articular cartilage of the acetabular socket. This ‘bearing” works reasonably in elderly inactive patients and fails rapidly in someone with an high activity level.The metal on cartilage bearing is commonly use in a hemiarthroplasty of the hip which is done for femoral neck fractures in the elderly. This is probably one of the commonest procedures in orthopaedics all over the world. Elderly, sedentry patients have a high incidence of femoral neck fractures and typically they would receive a hemi arthroplasty. However if someone is a little younger and more active a hemiarthroplasty will cause destruction of the cartilage ( chondrolysis) and pain and it has to be converted to a THR. I have done many of these conversions. Therefore the world over surgeons would do a THR straight away in femoral neck fractures if the patient has a higher activity level. Since resurfacing by definition is for younger active people, the metal on cartilage bearing is at a high chance of early failure. ( there have been some exceptions). Hence I would not use it in my practice. Some surgeons would argue that if the cartilage fails then they would convert to a total resurfacing. While the argument is valid in theory, technically a conversion of a hemi to a total resurfacing is complex. I hope that this clarifies the issue. with best regards vijay bose chennai
The indications for hemi-resurfacing are quite narrow. The joint disease should be limited to the femoral side, such as avascular necrosis or trauma – but without evidence of acetabular cartilage degeneration (narrowing of the joint space or development of any bone spurs). The pain relief is unpredictable and generally not as good as with a total hip resurfacing.Thomas P. Schmalzried, M.D.
Koen De Smet ANSWER/ANTWOORD] In the US for long they were doing hemiresurfacings because full resurfacings were not working well and the Metal on Metal resurfacing was not FDA approved yet. The results indeed are not so good. The hipscores after a time are certainly not perfect, not what we can get with a total resurfacing!The hemiresurfacing also is only kept for people with an avascular necrosis of the hip, not for any other condition, so the indication is not so big. The problem in these cases is that after time the metal head that is resurfaced will give osteoarthritis symptoms because it is wearing out the cartilage of the acetabulum. If the patient has had a hemiresurfacing that is a component that matches with a total MOM resurfacing and the size of the head is not put too big, they can have a full resurfacing done with the head implant kept on! Unfortunately this is not always possible and most of the time not possible. There are indeed cases that can stay long with this device, hemiresurfacing, but it is certainly the minority. Looking into the indications to do a hemi, avascular necrosis is known to be a condition that gives the less good results in any prosthetic implant. (In my series with resurfacing and ceramic on ceramic in young people I can not state or proof this) Greetz KOEN Koen De Smet AMC Gent Anca Medisch Centrum – Anca Medical Center GHENT Hipsurgeon Krijgslaan 181 9000 GENT BELGIUM www.heup.be www.hip-clinic.com +3292525903
What is the Role of Hemi-resurfacing by Dr. Gross It is my opinion that there no longer is any role for this procedure. The FDA does not realize this; they continue to approve implants for hemi-resurfacing. Typically these femoral hemi-resurfacing implants are best used off-label together with an acetabular component for total resurfacing. This highlights the fact that the FDA is not a good source of information when it comes to orthopedic expertise.Hemi-resurfacing refers to resurfacing only the femur and letting this new metal surface rub against the cartilage or bone of the acetabulum. This is a bad idea. There used to be one reasonable indication for hemi-resurfacing: the young patient with stage III Osteonecrosis. This means that the femoral head has collapsed, but the acetabulum has not yet developed cartilage deterioration. Hemi-resurfacing in this type of patient typically improves symptoms significantly, but does not give as good or as predictable pain relief as standard total hip arthroplasty. After the new metal head rubs on the acetabular cartilage for a few years, the cartilage wears out and the pain increases. So why would any surgeon advise, or any patient choose hemi-resurfacing? The answer is that in a young patient it may make sense to accept a less than perfect result (as far as pain relief goes) in exchange for bone preservation. Especially in the past era where metal-on-plastic bearings had a 30% failure rate in young patients at 8 years often with extensive bone loss due to osteolysis. Hemi-resurfacing in this scenario did make some sense. The options now have completely changed. Now we have a number of modern bearing options for total hip arthroplasty and we also have metal-on-metal hip resurfacing. Failure rates in young patients with these options are 5% at 8 years without much osteolysis. If the goal is bone preservation, then a total hip resurfacing is the operation of choice. For stage III Osteonecrosis, it now makes much more sense to also resurface the acetabulum and perform a total hip resurfacing rather than a hemi-resurfacing. The pain relief is much more reliable and the result is longer lasting than for hemi-resurfacing. The only problem is implanting an acetabular resurfacing component with the femoral head in the way. This technically challenges the surgeon’s skills. Fortunately there are now numerous surgeons worldwide who have developed the skill required to do this routinely with a very low complication rate. A patient with a modern hemi-resurfacing could probably be converted to a total resurfacing. Most modern components are manufactured to standards that would allow combining them with an acetabular component to convert to a total resurfacing. The hospital implant record would provide the necessary information to make this determination. Older hemi-resurfacing components were not manufactured to specifications to allow metal-metal bearing, and would need to be revised to total hip replacements if they were sufficiently painful. Thomas P. Gross, MD Grossortho.com 12/16/2008