Patients who may be eligible for hip resurfacing surgery suffer from hip pain associated with some form of arthritis or avascular necrosis. Hip resurfacing is generally intended for patients who are younger or have a higher level of activity. A younger patient has a greater chance of needing an additional replacement in the future, and hip resurfacing surgery preserves more bone. Although most candidates are under 55 years of age, hip resurfacing surgery is still an option for individuals who are older if they are physically active, have good bone density and do not have a severely deformed hip joint.
Hip resurfacing surgery is really not a new procedure. It has been performed since the early 1970s, but there were problems with materials and design. Since then, the materials and design have been improved, which has led to a new interest in hip resurfacing surgery. This is not a minimally invasive procedure. On the socket side, nothing is different in terms of surgical procedure. On the femur side, the hip is prepared quite differently compared to traditional hip replacement surgery. In hip resurfacing, the ball and the neck of the femur remains and is preserved. A metal cap is placed over the ball. The metal cap moves within the metal cup.
Some of the potential advantages of hip resurfacing surgery are:
- Preserves more bone. Less bone is removed with hip resurfacing surgery than hip replacement. The bone tends to remain healthy and strong.
- Less risk of dislocation. Hip resurfacing implants more closely resemble the normal anatomy of the hip and have a lower risk of dislocation because the hip is more stable.
- Easier revision. If the resurfaced hip does not last the entire lifetime of the patient, revising the surgery is generally not as difficult as traditional hip replacement surgery.
Long term results of hip resurfacing surgery are not yet known. Each patient must be evaluated individually by a surgeon to determine candidacy for hip resurfacing surgery.
Patients must also discuss the indications and contraindications of hip resurfacing surgery with their doctor. Specific risks related to this surgery include femoral neck fracture or loosening of the cap from the bone.