Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty

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Hip Resurfacing Arthroplasty

Topic Overview

Hip resurfacing arthroplasty is surgery that replaces the damaged outer surfaces of the femoral head found at the top of the thigh bone and, if necessary, the cup-shaped socket where the thigh bone meets the pelvis in the hip joint. This surgery was done in the 1970s. But its use decreased, because the parts used to replace the joint surfaces did not hold up well. Now, doctors are using new materials, and the procedure is gaining popularity.

People younger than about age 55 who have hip osteoarthritis have been difficult to help with standard hip replacements. They have many years of activity ahead of them and put a lot of stress on their replaced hip joint. So their hip replacements often need to be redone a few years after the original surgery. These later surgeries are usually less successful than the original hip replacements.

Hip resurfacing removes less bone than a hip replacement and maintains a better ball and socket joint. The chances of hip dislocation are less than with hip replacement. And people usually find the hip eventually feels normal after the surgery. Also, if the hip resurfacing parts eventually need to be replaced, there is enough bone remaining to do a standard hip replacement.

One study shows that the success rate of hip resurfacing in people younger than 55 is nearly 100% for the first few years after surgery, but long-term studies (greater than about 8 years) are not yet available. People in this hip resurfacing study were not advised to change their jobs or lifestyles in the long term. None changed their jobs, including those involved in heavy labour, and most returned to recreation and sports.1 One large study suggests that results of hip resurfacing are good. But the risk of needing the surgery redone is a little higher than with a standard hip replacement.2



  1. Daniel J, et al. (2004). Metal-on-metal resurfacing of the hip in patients under the age of 55 years with osteoarthritis. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, 86-B(2): 177–183.
  2. Sibanda N, et al. (2008). Revision rates after primary hip and knee replacement in England between 2003 and 2006. Public Library of Science Medicine, 5(9): 1398–1408.


By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Primary Medical Reviewer Andrew Swan, MD, CCFP, FCFP - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Stanford M. Shoor, MD - Rheumatology
Last Revised June 6, 2011

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