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Hip resurfacing vs. hip replacement for someone hoping not to have done his last bump run . . .

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hi folks,


I am a 60 year old skier who skis mainly black and double black runs, and enjoys speed, powder and the bumps.  I ski in control and rarely fall, and almost never take a bad spill.  I got in 18 days this past season and hope to average more than that going forward.  I have severe arthritis of the left hip (bizarrely, my right hip seems just fine) and after nursing it for the past six years with non-steriodal anti-inflamatories and acupuncture have finally hit a tipping point where I know I need surgery to deal with the pain and immobility.  I really hope to return to a similar level of skiing after my surgery, but do not intend to be stupid and risk seriously messing up my hip post-surgery.  I expect to be meeting with one or more orthopedic surgeons in the next couple of weeks.


I expect that I would be a candidate for the Birmingham Resurfacing Technique (subject to an analysis of my bone density), but I have read that the surgery is more invasive and trickier than an anterior total hip replacement.  Skiing is quite important to me — definitely my #1 activity — but I also enjoy tennis, hiking, biking, etc., and don't want to screw everything up.  I also realize that everyone's experience in this area is highly individualized and that what worked for you might not be the best for me.


With that background, do any of you wish to share your experience with me about your experience with either of these surgeries (or other hip replacement techniques, e.g., Microport), including recovery times and how well your hip performed upon your return to the slopes?


Thanks for your help!

post #2 of 7
I have a good friend who is an avid skier.
He has had 2 resurfacings and is thrilled. He had one done recently in South Carolina by Dr. Gross. The other he had done 10 years ago in Belgium. He was back skiing the next season and is doing great. You can PM me and I can share more if you are interested.
post #3 of 7

Best bet is get several ortho opinions based on an active skiing plan and go with the consensus.  Pay zero attention to what anybody says on internet chat rooms. Not sure the reason but we see all total hips and no resurfacing procedures.


Good to get the bad hip fixed. Have seen people who, in compensating for one bad hip, induce damage to the other hip or knees.

post #4 of 7
I looked at BHR, but there weren't any surgeons in my area that did 100/ year.
Plus I was a little concerned about the potential for metal on metal complications.

I had anterior approach THR on my left hip 2/12/13. I have very dense bones, am very muscular and my procedure took twice the normal time. The surgeon chipped of my greater trochanter which is one of the possible complications with the anterior approach. It caused more pain and a bit longer recovery.

I was back in the pool in three weeks and on a Mtb in four. I started waterskiing at three months, but pulled my hamstring at five months, possibly because it was still week from the surgery.

I was back on skis in December and did a cat trip in January. I got 40 days of alpine and over 60 XC. I was skiing at a very high level again by the end of the season. I had some pain in the hip if I skied hard bumps.

My right knee has severe OA and probably contributed to or even caused my hip problem.
I would consider BHR if there was a very good surgeon close by, but there wasn't.
I was back to work in a week with the anterior approach THR, but I don't want to think about a revision.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 



I very much appreciate those of you who have responded to date, and hope to hear from still others!


Shreadhead, very happy to hear that you were able to ski that hard after a THR.  That's encouraging to me as the BHR operation sounds like it may have a bigger upside, but seems trickier (and one of my tennis foursome had a quite bad experience with it — yes, a single data point, but close to home).  I also have some knee problems developing — pain and swelling each of the last two ski season, quite possibly bump related — though X-rays have not revealed them to be very arthritic.  I turned 61 yesterday, so I am really at the outer limit of the BHR candidate group from an age perspective.  If I may ask, how old are you?





post #6 of 7

A friend had two THR during one ski season a few years back; one early, one mid way through. He finished up the season making runs at A-Basin. I don't know which procedure you should get but I definitely agree with Eagles PDX. You can get a lot of information including upbeat stories, but only your own doctor(s) will know what is best for you. Get to a sports specific surgeon that will appreciate your desire to remain active and has the experience dealing with older athletic patients. Good luck!

post #7 of 7

Originally Posted by NigelStHubbins View Post

 If I may ask, how old are you?



56.  I would just pick the most skilled surgeon you can find and go with the procedure he recommends.

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