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Hip Resurfacing – NHS

Hip resurfacing is a technique of hip surgery which has been developed as an alternative in certain cases to cemented hip replacement. It is used for younger (under 65 years) patients and for those who are more likely to be active.

The aims of hip resurfacing are to replace the arthritic surfaces with a low friction metal on metal hip resurfacing which has low wear properties, one of the things that prevents one of the hip resurfacing complications, loosening. Cemented hip replacements have had a major problem with loosening in the past although this has improved greatly with new cementing techniques.

The advantages of hip resurfacing surgery over hip replacement are stated to be no problems with leg length inequality, retention of bone stock in the upper femur, less likelihood of dislocation and the ability to return to normal activities with little restriction.

Other advantages are that hip resurfacing recovery is quicker and the patient can participate more energetically in hip resurfacing exercises with the physiotherapist. Younger and more active patients (under 60 for women and 65 for men) may be more suitable for this technique as it leaves the upper femoral bone and a hip replacement can be performed in the future should the need arise.

The main disadvantage is that long term results, for example over ten years, are not yet available so we do not know if hip resurfacing problems include lasting less well than standard hip replacement.

Hip resurfacing is widely available in the NHS although cemented hip replacement is performed much more commonly, in the elderly population with osteoarthritis.

Further reading about hip resurfacing is at the Hipclinic.co.uk and "NHS excels at hip and knee ops" on BBC Health







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