Barry J. Waldman, MD FAAOS
Customized Hip and Knee Replacement

Hip Resurfacing

Hip Resurfacing. An Alternative for Young, Active Patients.

Hip Resurfacing - A Less Invasive Alternative

Hip Resurfacing Surgery

Hip resurfacing is an alternative to hip replacement that has become more popular in Europe somewhat in the US. It differs from a standard hip replacement in a few important ways. In both procedures, a metal shell is placed into the pelvis to serve as a new socket for the joint. In a standard hip replacement, the femoral head, or ball part of the joint, is completely removed. It is replaced with a new metal ball and stem which goes down the thigh bone. In a resurfaced hip, the femoral head is retained, and a hollow ball is cemented onto it. The procedure retains more bone and the new prosthesis is much closer in size to the true femoral head. 


Hip resurfacing should, in theory, have better range of motion and have less chance of dislocating. There are, however, a number of possible downsides to resurfacing. Because the surgery is more difficult, a much larger incision and muscle dissection has to be performed to get access to the joint. This may result in more weakness after the surgery than a standard hip replacement. There is a higher risk of femur fracture after resurfacing because the part is placed on a weaker part of the femur. A broken femur after resurfacing is a difficult problem and usually requires converting it to a full hip replacement. While we are still trying to determine exactly which patients are the best candidates for resurfacing, it remains a promising procedure for young patients with severe hip disease.

I always recommend tailoring the type of hip to the patient.  Our most common types are Birmingham hip resurfacing and Biomet Recap hip resurfacing.  If you are interested in this procedure, feel free to contact me for more information. 


“Hip resurfacing remains a viable alternative for many young active patients who require a higher level of performance,” Dr. Barry J. Waldman