Virtual Hip Resurfacing Surgery

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Teacher's Guide

Recommended Grade Levels: 7 - 12 and up 
WARNING: Some of the photographs and procedures in this surgery activity are rather graphic.

Tips for using the site with students      
  1. Before using this activity in class (or at home with your kids) go through the activity once to make sure it works correctly on your computer(s).

  2. If the activity does not load after clicking the 'start' button, you may be asked to download a Flash Player from Please click yes, as this allows you to view the Edheads Virtual Hip Resurfacing Surgery.

  3. If you are using an iPad or other iDevice, our games will not play without downloading an app or browser. We recommend the Photon browser available at:

  4. Your computer(s) will need to have some sort of sound output. Either speakers or headphones will work well. The majority of this activity has voice audio. We highly recommend headphones in a classroom setting. Hearing impaired students can turn on the subtitles by clicking the audio off button in the lower right corner of the screen.

  5. Students in the target grade-range will take approximately eight to fifteen minutes to complete the surgery working individually or in groups of two to three. Some students can get queasy using this activity, particularly when looking at the photos of real surgery. We recommend closely monitoring students when they experience this activity for the first time.

  6. After students use the site, teachers may want to discuss with their class why certain steps of surgery occurred in the order they did, or why these steps were performed at all. Asking questions such as “Why do you think the surgeon slices through the muscles in the direction the fibers run, instead of across the muscle fibers?” will get students thinking about WHY various steps exist or why they are accomplished as they are (cutting across muscle fibers increases pain and recovery time for the patient – following muscles fibers reduces pain and recovery time). Teachers can also ask questions such as, “What do you think the FIRST hip replacement surgery was like and how do you think it differed from today’s surgery?”

Answers to Quiz Questions 

Q1. Why do you think it is important to preserve bone in younger patients? 
A1. It might be necessary to have another hip surgery later, and the more bone left the better the outcome is likely to be.

Q2. What size acetabular cup do you think fits best?
A2. 60 mm.

Q3. What size femoral head should we use?
A3. 54 mm.

Q4. Since we already templated before surgery, why measure neck of the femur at this point of the procedure?
A4. The neck diameter represents the minimum diameter prosthesis that could be used.  This also allows us to double check our measurements.

Q5. Why are so many steps taken to ensure that the center of the femoral neck is located?
A5. Being off center could result in poor placement of  the femoral component, which could add significant stresses to the bone later, possibly causing fractures. 

Q6. This femoral prosthesis is larger than the component used in traditional total hip replacement.  Why is this an advantage?
A6. A larger femoral head allows greater range of motion and less risk of dislocation.

Q7. Use the burr to create a small trough in the femoral head where indicated.  Why is this step included?
A7.  To allow cement to escape and allow us to fully seat the femoral component.

Ohio Science Standards      

Science & Technology

Grades 6-8:

  1. Give examples of how technological advances, influenced by scientific knowledge, affect the quality of life.
  2. Design a solution or product taking into account needs and constraints (e.g., cost, time, trade-offs, properties of materials, safety and aesthetics).

Scientific Inquiry

Grades 6-8:

  1. Explain that there are differing sets of procedures for guiding scientific investigations and procedures are determined by the nature of the investigation, safety considerations and appropriate tools.

Scientific Ways of Knowing

Grades 11-12:

  1. Explain how ethical considerations shape scientific endeavors.
  2. Explain how societal issues and considerations affect the progress of science and technology.

National Science Standards      

Content Standards

Grades 5-8:

  1. Understandings about scientific Inquiry.
  2. Understanding of structure and function in living systems, reproduction and heredity.
  3. Abilities of technological design and understandings about science and technology.
  4. Personal health risks and benefits, science and technology in society.

Grades 9-12:

  1. Understandings about scientific inquiry.
  2. Matter, energy and organization in living systems and behavior of organisms.
  3. Abilities of technological design, understandings about science and technology.
  4. Natural and human-induced hazards, science and technology in local, national, and global challenges.
  5. Understanding of the nature of scientific knowledge and science as a human endeavor.