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Hip resurfacing an alternative to replacement

Hip resurfacing procedure helps young, active men return to activities

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A hip resurfacing procedure is providing an alternative treatment for young, active men with arthritic problems.

Danny Witt was 28 when he first found out he had arthritis in his hip. The Ponte Vedra Beach tennis coach learned to live with the pain, but it progressively became worse.

Now at age 43, he opted for a unique approach with Dr. Brett Frykberg, orthopedic surgeon at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute, that would allow him to keep more of his own hip bone as opposed to a total hip replacement.

“My hip would ache and I would get a sharp pain when I planted my foot to play tennis or move around. It felt like somebody was stabbing me with a knife in the hip,” Witt said. “For the past several years, I just lived with it. But the longer I waited to have something done, I was concerned it would impact other parts of my body, like my back.”

The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System restores the natural shape of the joint providing better stability, longevity and higher levels of patient activity than a traditional hip replacement. Only the surface of the femoral head (ball) is shaved off and a cap is put on the top of the hip, similar to capping a tooth instead of replacing the entire head and neck of the femoral bone as in a total hip replacement.

“Hip resurfacing unlike total hip has no restrictions. Once recovered, people can return to normal activities such as running, biking, swimming, hockey and baseball,” Dr. Frykberg said. “Resurfacing allows that high level of activity, which total hip replacement does not do. People can do all the things they did before without restrictions. You keep most of your own bone and your range of motion is better.”

The procedure is for younger, active men ranging from 20 to 60 whom total hip replacement may not be appropriate due to an increased level of physical activity. Active men who suffer from hip pain due to non-inflammatory arthritis (degenerative joint disease) such as osteoarthritis, traumatic arthritis, avascular necrosis, or dysplasia/DDH, or inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis may be good candidates.

The procedure is not good for women, Dr. Frykberg said, because women have smaller femoral neck bones, which are more brittle and not strong enough to hold the implant.

For Witt, he’s able to run again and play tennis without pain.

“It’s been great,” Witt added. “Outside of my job, I still like to stay fit and work out a lot. Even when I’m on the tennis court, I can move around better now. It’s just awesome.”


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This Emmy Award-winning television, radio and newspaper journalist has anchored The Morning Show for 18 years.