Hip Resurfacing

Hip Resurfacing

While traditional total hip replacement removes the worn-out femoral head, an alternative method of addressing an arthritic hip joint, known as hip resurfacing, exists. This is done by replacing only the surfaces of the ball and cup that rub against one another, while retaining the underlying remaining femoral bone. This has several theoretical advantages, including:

  • Fewer parts to wear out
  • Feeling more natural due to retained bone
  • Saving bone for future revision surgery

However, when compared to total hip replacement surgery, there are many drawbacks to hip resurfacing procedures. These include:

  • Higher risk of re-operation
  • Risk of femoral fracture around the implant, especially in women and smaller men
  • More muscle and tendon damage
  • Longer recovery time when compared to muscle-sparing techniques
  • Inability to correct underlying deformity if it exists
  • Decreased range-of-motion

Because of these risks, fewer patients qualify for this type of surgery than total hip replacement. An ideal candidate would be a younger, active, taller male with good bone. However, in this population, a tissue sparing total hip replacement would work equally well. Since hip resurfacing is a technically demanding surgery with a number of potential risks, patients should seek the advice of an experienced hip surgeon if they are interested in this procedure.