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Hip resurfacing is an alternative surgical procedure to hip replacement for many active patients. Hip resurfacing differs from a hip replacement in that the femoral head and neck are not removed and replaced with synthetic parts. In hip resurfacing, the worn surfaces of the femoral head and acetabulum are smoothed out, and covered with metal bearing surfaces. This allows greater conservation of the patient's bones.

This procedure is performed through a posterior approach. After a hip resurfacing, patients are generally allowed to bear weight as tolerated. This is an inpatient procedure requiring a minimum of one night's stay in the hospital. Physical therapy works with the patient during their hospital stay and upon return to home or a rehab facility to maximize their hip's condition during the recovery phase.

A risk unique to a hip resurfacing that is not seen in a total hip replacement is a femoral neck fracture. When elderly persons “break their hip”, this is usually the affected area. When a hip replacement is done, this bone is removed, thus it cannot break. However, when a hip resurfacing is performed, the femoral neck is preserved.

Who is a candidate for hip resurfacing?

Active males less than 60 years of age are generally candidates for a hip resurfacing. In rare cases, there may be too much damage to the femoral head in this group, rendering the patient a candidate only for a total hip replacement.