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Hip Resurfacing

While a total hip replacement completely removes both the ‘ball’ (the head of the femur) and socket of the hip joint and replaces them with a prosthetic, as the name implies, a resurfacing involves placing a new surface on the existing ball and socket. Any damaged bone of cartilage within the socket is removed, and covered with a smooth, metal ‘cap’ over both the head of your femur, (the top of your leg bone), and your pelvis socket. 

It is surgery that can be performed under regional (awake but numb from the waist down) or general anaesthetic (fully asleep) and usually takes one to three hours depending on what is required.

Resurfacing hip replacement

We start by making an incision in your thigh so that we can access the hip joint,  before dislocating your hip away from the socket. We then trim the head of the femur and once it is prepared, cement a metal cap over it. We then remove any damaged bone or cartilage that lines the socket and a metal cup is press fitted into place, before relocating the newly capped ‘ball’ back into the socket.

Unlike hip replacements, resurfacing is not suitable for everyone, but if it is an option, it can potentially deliver a number of benefits over a full replacement including making it easier for a revision if required down the track and potentially reducing the risk of hip dislocation. It can also help you avoid leg length inequality and achieve normal walking patterns. 

This surgery requires a hospital stay of up to four days, but you can usually start to put weight on your leg immediately after surgery, depending on your specific circumstances. You’ll most likely need a walker, cane or crutches for a few days or weeks until your comfortable enough to walk on your own.

You may need physical therapy or be given a set of simple exercises to help restore your strength and range of motion. Most patients are back to their regular activities within six weeks. Modern bearings such as ceramic are being trialled to avoid the complications of metal on metal bearings.

Hip Resurfacing Fast Facts

Standard Procedure Time:1.5 hours
Standard Hospital Stay:4 nights
Recovery Time:Walking aids for 6 weeks after surgery
Return to Light Activities:4-6 weeks
Return to Full Activities:6-12 weeks. Follow Up with bloods tests and imaging is mandatory