Hip resurfacing is a conservative artificial joint replacement, where the hip joint is relined, instead of being completely replaced as in total hip replacement procedure.  The goal of hip resurfacing is to provide a more active and improved quality of life. This is done by restoring functionality to the hip through replacing damaged bone and cartilage in the socket, while preserving as much natural bone as possible. In hip resurfacing, the femoral head is not removed, but is instead trimmed and resurfaced with a smooth metal dome.

Candidates for Hip Resurfacing

With any procedure your personal physician will inform if you are a candidate for this procedure, however many candidates for hip resurfacing tend to be under 60, with strong, healthy bones as it leaves more bone intact.

Hip resurfacing surgery (HRS) can address pain from mild to moderate osteoarthritis before major bone damage has occurred.

Referred pain from the back, poor circulation or damaged nerves may not be resolved with an HRS. So this type of joint surgery should be considered if:

  • All conservative treatments have already been tried and unsuccessful.
  • There is debilitating and severe pain with loss of function.

Hip Resurfacing Procedure

Hip resurfacing surgery may be performed as an overnight procedure and you may be walking within 4 hours after the surgery. The surgery usually takes 2-3 hours of operating time and an additional hour in the recovery room after surgery.

  1. An incision of approximately 20 – 30cm in length is made over the outer edge of your hip joint.
  2. Hip resurfacing surgery involves the removal of the damaged bone surface only by about 4 -5mm from the head of the femur and approx 4-5mm from the socket (acetabulum.)
  3. The bone surface is then replaced with a metal cover or shell.
  4. The surgical cut is closed with sutures and at the skin with staples.
  5. The staples have to be removed a fortnight after surgery while the sutures will dissolve. The dressing used is designed for compression and will stay in place for 48hrs.

Advantages of Hip Resurfacing

Hip surgery has undergone enormous developments and with hip resurfacing procedure there are many advantages as compared to the traditional full hip replacement procedures:

Ease of Revision

One of the main advantages of hip resurfacing is the preservation of the femoral neck and femoral canal, thus leaving the option open for a total hip replacement, if needed in the future. Hip resurfacing minimizes bone removal and uses a smaller implant, so that the revision surgery can be performed like a standard hip replacement.

Smaller Device

Hip resurfacing uses a chrome cobalt and molybdenum combination device, which is smaller than a traditional total hip device. The smaller device helps the patient get back to mobility sooner with a rapid, postoperative rehab program.

Minimal Bone Removal

Hip resurfacing surgery removes less bone as it retreads the bone with a metal prosthesis, instead of removing the entire ball of the ball and socket hip joint. A metal cap is placed around the ball, where the cartilage has worn off, reducing the amount of bone removed.

Less Risk of Dislocation

In hip resurfacing, the bone around the implant supporting the metal cap remains healthy and strong. The resurfaced ball is more similar in size to the natural femoral head, which reduces the risk of dislocation. There is greater stability of the hip joint from the hip resurfacing implant, resulting in a dramatic reduction of dislocation rates. It also reduces the problem of leg lengthening or shortening.

Shorter Recovery Time

Many hip resurfacing patients are back walking just 4 hours after surgery. The total time spent in hospital is approximately about one to two days. Within two or three weeks, most patients can get back to regular activities including driving.

Hip Resurfacing Complications

There are risks involved with hip resurfacing like with any surgical procedure. You can discuss common complications with your physician and take specific measures to help avoid potential problems post-surgery.

Although rare, the most common complications of hip resurfacing are:

  • Leg vein blood clots
  • Infection
  • Injury to the nerves or blood vessels
  • Dislocation of the hip joint
  • Weakening or softening of the bone causing collapse or fracture of the femoral neck

The Illinois Bone & Joint Institute has more than 100 orthopedic physicians, and 20 locations throughout Chicago. We’re here to help you move better so you can live better.