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Hip resurfacing surgery


If you are under age 60, you may be surprised to find out that arthritis is causing your hip pain.

The pain may be preventing you from taking longer walks, playing tennis or golf, or doing other activities that are an important part of your life.

If you have tried other treatments, you and your doctor may have started to discuss surgery.

Hip joint replacement, the most common surgical treatment for hip arthritis, is usually done for people over age 60. This is because most artificial hips do not last more than 20 years.

A surgery called hip resurfacing may be an option if you are younger or still very active. An advantage of resurfacing is that a hip replacement can still be done years later, when the resurfacing is not working and if a replacement is needed.

What is hip resurfacing?

Regular hip joint replacement is surgery to replace the bones of your hip joint with a man-made (artificial) joint. At least one side of the new hip joint is made of either a special plastic or ceramic material.

In hip resurfacing surgery, less bone is removed:

  • During surgery, your doctor scrapes the surfaces of the hip socket (a part of the pelvic bone) and the upper part of the thighbone (called the femur).
  • A metal surface is then placed over each bone of your hip joint, both the ball and socket.
  • Hip resurfacing is different from traditional hip replacement where the top of the thighbone or the ball is cut off and replaced.

Recovery from the surgery can be quicker, and your hip should be stable and have enough range of motion to allow you to begin to be active. Being able to return to sports activities usually takes many months.

Other important points about hip resurfacing

Hip resurfacing surgery can be more difficult than regular hip replacement surgery. Choose a doctor and hospital that have performed many hip resurfacing surgeries.

After resurfacing, both sides of your hip joint will be covered in metal. There are problems caused by metal rubbing on metal. Your doctor should discuss this issue with you. Ask your doctor about other side effects and risks of the surgery.

Not everyone under 60 qualifies for this surgery. Talk with your orthopedic surgeon about whether or not you are a good candidate for hip resurfacing. In general, younger men with strong and larger bones are better candidates than women.

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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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