Hip resurfacing is a longer-lasting and bone-conserving alternative to hip replacement surgery that can return physically active adults to their active lifestyles. In the past, traditional hip replacement surgery was the only option for active adults with hip pain caused by arthritis and degenerative hip disease. The surgery had the potential for multiple revision surgeries to later repair worn-down implants. By leaving more bone intact, hip resurfacing allows for a future total hip replacement, if needed.
The major difference in total hip replacement and hip resurfacing is how each procedure affects the top portion of the femur (the long bone in the thigh that fits into the hip socket). In hip resurfacing, the head of the femur is shaved to a rounded shape and then covered with a metal cap. The cap is anchored by a small metal stem cemented into a small hole that is drilled into the center of the bone. In total hip replacement, the entire head of the femur is removed and replaced by a large round device that is anchored by a larger metal stem that is driven deeper into the femur. This major alteration of the femur can leave too little solid bone for a follow-up replacement procedure.