Dennis Brown, MD, is a partner in Montgomery Orthopaedic Surgeons in Dayton, Ohio, and is medical director of The Joint Center at Good Samaritan Hospital. Dr. Brown is an expert in total replacement of the hip, knee, and shoulder and in reconstructive surgery of the hip and knee. He is one of only two fellowship-trained adult reconstruction specialists in Dayton and is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons.
How is hip resurfacing different from total hip replacement?
Dr. Brown: A hip is known as a “ball and socket joint” where a ball-shaped bone at the top of the thigh fits into a cup-like bone. This joint gives the leg its range of motion.
Both hip replacement and hip resurfacing use two components to repair the ball and socket joint. The biggest difference between the two procedures is in the component that we use for the thigh. In a total hip replacement, part of the thighbone is remove and a long metal stem with a ball-shaped top is inserted into the remaining bone. In hip resurfacing, however, the thighbone is left largely intact and a resurfacing cap with a very small stem is used to attach the thighbone to the hip socket. In both procedures, the component used to replace the hip socket is similar.
What are the advantages of hip resurfacing?
Resurfacing restores the normal structure of the hip. A resurfaced hip may feel more like a normal hip due to the hipbone being left in place. Recovery is quicker with few if any restrictions, and patients have a normal range of motion.
When is hip resurfacing recommended?
Dr. Brown: Resurfacing is especially good for young, active patients with severe arthritis in the hip. Conventional hip replacements do not last as long in these patients as they do in older, less active people. It is much easier to successfully replace a hip that that has been resurfaced than it is to redo a total hip replacement. Advancing age, osteoporosis and existing hip deformities may rule out hip resurfacing.
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