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Hip Resurfacing Complications

Hip resurfacing is a technique developed in Birmingham, UK, as a response to some of the problems experienced with the most common technique, cemented hip replacement. It allows for a much reduced removal of bone compared to the standard technique, which may allow more normal bone stresses in the hip area and permit the patient to return to their normal activity without restrictions.

Even though many resurfacing prostheses have been inserted the most common technique in the UK is not hip resurfacing. NHS hospitals perform the vast majority of hip replacements and the vast majority of those are cemented hip replacements in elderly people.

Hip resurfacing recovery is usually uneventful and there seem to be few major worries about hip resurfacing surgery. The long term results of this intervention are not yet known as follow up results cannot be shown for a long enough period, i.e. over ten years. Standard hip replacement has very good results over a long period of time and it is not clear if hip resurfacing has a significant advantage.

Hip resurfacing problems

Hip resurfacing problems include:

Fracture of the bone under the implant can occur in patients whose bone quality is poor, who are obese or are female. They are also more frequent in operations by surgeons who do this type of surgery less often. The risk numbers are wide, from 1% to 20% in various studies.

Loosening of the components can occur as it does in hip replacement and if this occurs then a standard hip replacement may need to be performed. Loosening may increase in speed and distance if the hip implant is used inappropriately and subjected to severe jarring or weight stresses.

Even though the metal on metal hip resurfacing has less wear than the metal on plastic type more commonly used, there are metal ions liberated into the body. Although some concerns have been raised about the potential adverse effects of these ions, there has been no evidence that they actually are a problem.

Due to the large diameter of the femoral head dislocation is less common than with standard hip replacement, meaning patients can do hip resurfacing exercises freely under the advice of a physiotherapist.

 Further reading about hip resurfacing complications is at and

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