LONDON • Andy Murray's chances of returning to competitive tennis should be "in the high 90 per cent" and he could even play at Wimbledon this year, according to Professor Derek McMinn, the surgeon who invented the hip operation that the former world No. 1 underwent last week.
Rather than the more common total hip replacement, Murray now has a metal Birmingham hip resurfacing (BHR) device on his right side, designed to allow greater activity after surgery.
His implant is a metal-on-metal device that should last for at least two decades.
A recent survey showed that for men under 50 at the time of the operation, 98.5 per cent of the implants would still be functioning 21 years after surgery.
Men under 40 are much more likely to be able to engage in regular high-impact sporting activity.
The time needed to attempt a return to competitive sport depends on the individual patient and, in particular, the quality of bone around the implant.
But highly active patients, such as Murray, usually have better bone quality.
"We are generally cautious about returning too early to impact sport after BHR, being afraid of the patient getting a femoral neck fracture," McMinn said. "Activity promotes strong bone, and inactivity usually associated with an arthritic hip weakens the femoral neck.
"It is highly likely Murray's bone quality is normal or near normal. With a fair wind, he should be able to play at Wimbledon this year."
The BHR procedure was developed as an alternative to total hip replacement, conserving more of the bone and restoring the natural shape of the joint, allowing for greater levels of activity and a broader range of movement.
THE TIMES, LONDON