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Hip Resurfacing

If arthritis in your hip limits your daily life, hip resurfacing may be an option. Compared to total hip replacement, resurfacing can give you pain relief without replacing as much of your hip joint. Resurfacing still replaces the socket portion of your hip. However, it allows you to keep more of your original thigh bone (femur) in place.

Do I qualify for hip resurfacing?

Resurfacing is a less involved surgery than total hip replacement. Often, it is recommended for those under 55 years old. It can relieve arthritis pain while helping you keep an active life. For younger patients, resurfacing also allows you to have total hip replacement later on if needed.

What are the advantages of resurfacing versus total replacement?

Compared to total hip replacement, resurfacing offers some benefits, including:

  • Fewer limits on your activity
  • Shorter recovery
  • Less original bone removed
  • Lasts longer
  • Reduced risk of bone wear or dislocation
  • Less likely to need a revision surgery

What are the risks of hip resurfacing?

Every surgery comes with some risks. These are unusual, but they can include:

  • Hip infection
  • Blood clot
  • Hip dislocation
  • Damage to your blood vessels, nerves, or bones
  • Continued pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint wear
  • Difference in leg length

What happens during hip resurfacing?

Before your surgery, be sure to attend your pre-admission testing and follow your doctor’s orders about medication, diet, and surgery prep. On the day of your surgery, your care team will make you as comfortable as possible and answer any questions you have.

Once in the operating room, your surgeon will make an incision across the hip. First, he or she will implant a piece into the socket of your hip joint. This may or may not have screws or cement. Then, a liner will be placed into the socket.

After the socket piece is in place, your surgeon will carefully fit another implant on the femoral head—the ball part of the joint that’s on the top of your thigh bone. Once your hip is correctly fitted, your surgeon will close your incision.

What is recovery like for hip resurfacing?

When you first come out of surgery, you’ll have an IV in your arm, monitors for your vital signs, and a drain coming from your hip. Your team will work with you to control your pain.

The next day, your drain will typically be removed. Then, you’ll be encouraged to start getting up and walking. Physical therapists will show you exercises to help you start to regain your mobility.

You can expect to be in the hospital for five to seven days. When it’s time to go home, you will probably need crutches for about two weeks. After that, you may need a cane for up to six weeks. To help you recover, you’ll be asked to:

  • Sleep with a pillow between your legs
  • Avoid turning your foot in while bending your hip
  • Avoid crossing your legs
  • Use a grabber instated of bending over to pick things up
  • Use tools to help you get dressed
  • Avoid sitting in low chairs
  • Use an elevated toilet seat
  • Call your doctor if you have unusual redness, swelling, or a fever