The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 8 , 2560 - 2565

Resection Arthroplasty Compared With Total Hip Arthroplasty in Treating Chronic Hip Pain of Patients With a History of Substance Abuse

Curtis, William et al.


Retrospective comparison of surgical management of severe hip pain in patients with a history of substance abuse treated by modified Girdlestone resection arthroplasty (RA) vs delayed total hip arthroplasty (THA) following yearlong sobriety pathway.


Patients were identified using charts, current procedural terminology (CPT) code query, and THA sobriety pathway registry. The primary outcome was adequate pain control following surgery, defined as visual analog scale ≤ 5 or verbal description of “moderate” or lower pain. RA patients with infectious arthritis were analyzed separately. The secondary outcome was the level of mobility after surgery.


In the THA pathway, 15 of 28 (53.6%) proved sobriety, 11 (39.3%) underwent THA, and 9 (32.1%) achieved adequate pain control (median 77 days). After RA, 19 (76%) achieved adequate pain control (median 119.5 days). Preoperative infection did not significantly affect time to pain control after RA (P = .94). Time to adequate pain control was not significantly different between RA and THA patients (P = .19). Three patients (30%) experienced improved level of mobility after THA and 7 (70%) experienced no change. After RA, 7 patients (29.1%) experienced improved level of mobility, 3 (13.6%) lost mobility, and 14 (63.6%) experienced no change. Three RA patients were later converted to THA without complication.


Yearlong sobriety pathway leading to THA leads to successful pain control in less than one-third of enrolled patients. Compared to delayed THA, RA enables more patients with substance abuse to be treated sooner and results in successful reduction of pain in a similar proportion of patients. RA may be an effective pain-reducing procedure for these patients.

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