American Family Children's Hospital

Hip Resurfacing

At UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, our orthopedic surgeons are prepared to offer hip resurfacing, a hip replacement technique for young and active patients that may be offered as an alternative to traditional total hip replacement.
It should be emphasized that standard total hip replacement is an outstanding operation with a long-term record of success. For the majority of patients, standard total hip replacement will remain the primary operation offered to treat severe hip arthritis. 
Hip Resurfacing Questions and Answers
Hip Replacement Versus Hip Resurfacing
Compared with traditional total hip replacement, total hip resurfacing removes less bone and probably will have less risk for dislocation (popping the hip out of joint). 
In traditional total hip replacement, the patient's socket (acetabulum) is replaced with a metal socket and a plastic liner (see figure at right). The neck of the femur (thigh bone) is cut and this neck and femoral head are removed. A metal device (prosthesis) is then placed down the femoral shaft and a metal ball is attached. The metal ball sits in the plastic liner of the socket and serves as the newly reconstructed hip joint.
What Does a Total Hip Resurfacing Look Like?
In hip resurfacing, less bone is removed from the socket, an all metal socket is used, and a metal ball is used to cap the surface of the femoral head. Neither the femoral head nor the femoral neck are removed in a total hip resurfacing operation.
Whether a total hip replacement or a total hip resurfacing is the procedure of choice for a specific patient is dependent on a variety of factors and requires a consultation with an orthopedic specialist.
Recovery and Rehabilitation
Your recovery after hip resurfacing will generally take from six weeks to three months, with rehabilitation as the cornerstone of your recovery. Hip resurfacing patients can speed up the recovery process by staying active and performing exercises designed to build hip strength. UW Health physical therapists will work with you to create an exercise program that is right for you.
Similar to total hip replacement, long term recovery goals include regaining hip function and reducing the pain you experienced before surgery. After following a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, many patients can expect to return to their normal activities with relatively few limitations.
Animation: Hip Resurfacing