Hip resurfacing is a form of hip replacement surgery. It uses implants to ease hip pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis and other conditions. The implants take the place of damaged tissue and bone, allowing for more fluid movement. Men younger than 60 are the best candidates for hip resurfacing.
Hip resurfacing is a type of hip replacement surgery. It relieves arthritis pain in the hip. An orthopaedic surgeon (bone and joint specialist) performs the procedure.
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Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint that is part of the skeletal system. It includes the:
Cartilage covers the hip ball-and-socket joint. This tissue cushions bones so they can move together with ease. Arthritis can wear down cartilage in the hip joint. Over time, bone rubs against bone, causing pain and limiting movement.
Hip resurfacing involves trimming damaged bone and cartilage from the ball and socket. Your surgeon places a smooth metal cap on top of the trimmed thighbone. A metal shell goes into the hip socket. These two metal components move together, allowing for painless, fluid motion.
It’s as different as putting on a hat, or cutting off your head.
During hip resurfacing, your surgeon trims away small amounts of damaged cartilage and bone. You keep almost all the bone in your thigh and hip socket.
With hip replacement, a surgeon removes the entire head of the thighbone and replaces it with a metal stem, which is inserted down into the thigh bone (femur). A metal or ceramic ball secures to the top of the stem. This implant fits into a new metal hip socket, usually with a plastic liner.
Hip resurfacing can ease hip pain from osteoarthritis. Hip pain is often felt in the groin, and sometimes in the buttock or the side of the hip. Your healthcare provider may recommend the procedure if hip pain doesn’t improve with nonsurgical treatments.
Hip resurfacing isn’t right for everybody. People older than 65 shouldn’t get the procedure. Hip replacement works fine in the elderly. This age group is more likely to have weaker bones (osteoporosis), which can complicate both hip resurfacing and hip replacement.
Candidates for hip resurfacing typically are:
Hip resurfacing usually takes place under spinal anesthesia, with sedation. You are asleep, breathing on your own. The procedure takes under two hours.
During hip resurfacing, your surgeon:
You’ll spend a day or two in the hospital. If your surgeon gives the OK, you can start putting weight on the leg soon after surgery. You may need to use crutches, a walker or a cane for a few weeks until you feel comfortable getting around.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can ease pain. Physical therapy can help you regain mobility. You should be able to resume everyday activities after six weeks. By the end of 12 months, you can return to full, unrestricted activity - including sports.
All surgeries carry a risk of blood clots, infection and nerve injury. Other complications of hip resurfacing include:
If either of these problems occur, you will need further hip surgery.
Hip resurfacing is as effective as hip replacement in easing hip pain and improving mobility.
Compared to hip replacement, hip resurfacing offers these advantages:
You should call your healthcare provider if you experience:
Hip resurfacing is a viable option for younger, active people, especially men, who have arthritic hip pain. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved hip resurfacing in 2006, although the device has been used in the UK and elsewhere since 1997. It’s important to find an orthopaedic surgeon who has successful experience performing this procedure.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 12/14/2020.
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