Hip Resurfacing

  • Introduction

  • Surgical Treatment

The hip is made up of a ball-and-socket joint. The ball of the femur, called the femoral head, fits into the socket of the pelvis, called the acetabulum, and is kept in place by structures of cartilage. A hip resurfacing surgery is a procedure in which the femoral head is trimmed down and capped and the cartilage of the hip joint is removed and replaced by prosthetic components.

There are many conditions that can cause pain in the hip including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and avascular necrosis. In some cases, these conditions can cause severe pain that limits daily activity.


A hip resurfacing is different from a hip replacement. In a hip replacement, the femoral head is removed and replaced by a prosthetic component along with the cartilage around the socket. However, in a hip resurfacing, the femoral head is not removed. It is trimmed down and covered with a metal surface. Both procedures involve replacing the socket.

During the procedure an orthopedic surgeon makes an incision in the thigh and then dislocates the femoral head in order to resurface it. Once the femoral head is prepared, a metal cap is cemented on. The surgeon then removes the cartilage from the joint and attaches a socket component in its place. Once the ball is relocated back into the socket, the incision is closed. The entire procedure takes 1-2 hours.

Physical therapy typically follows surgery. If recovery is managed properly, patients typically are able to resume normal daily activities within 4 to 6 weeks.

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