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Hip Resurfacing

Published: October 13, 2010

Placing a durable metal lining over hip joints badly damaged by overuse, injury, arthritis, and other conditions offers a high-performance option for younger adults with severe pain who are looking to resume active lifestyles.

The innovative procedure, called hip resurfacing, restores joint function and mobility by shaving and capping (rather than removing) the top portion of the thighbone that fits into the hip socket. Other advantages for suitable candidates include a lower risk of dislocation and a better chance of walking with natural ease when compared to total hip replacement (THR). Resurfacing implants are expected to wear well, perhaps even for a lifetime suggest some investigators.

Risks of the relatively new procedure (first approved for use in the US in 2006) are similar to those posed by standard THR.

Beth Barney

Ten years after hip resurfacing, Beth Barney completed a triathlon at age 32, placing first in her age group. She is currently expecting her fifth child.Photo courtesy of Beth Barney

What should you look for in an orthopedic surgeon if you are exploring hip resurfacing? Expertise matters, of course—and the more resurfacing procedures that a surgeon has done the better, says Post writer Unmesh Kher in the 2006 article “Joint Decisions: Hip Resurfacing.”

Depending on the patient’s bones and goals, orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. now have several hip resurfacing devices to consider, including the:

Conserve ® Plus Total Resurfacing Hip System (Wright Medical Technology)

Birmingham Hip* Resurfacing System (Smith and Nephew)

Cormet Hip Resurfacing System (Stryker)

Two years after both his hips were resurfaced, Michael Carroll, currently 52, resumed his career as a Navy Seal Officer and later served in Iraq. Carroll now trains Navy Seals in San Diego.Photo courtesy of Michael Carroll

ReCap Femoral Resurfacing System (Biomet).

Beth Barney (pictured above, right) and Mike Carroll (at left) were treated at the Joint Replacement Institute, St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, founded by hip resurfacing pioneer and developer of the Conserve Plus device, Dr. Harlan Amstutz.

Hip resurfacing may not be an option for people with poor bone quality, osteoporosis, or osteonecrosis (bone death that occurs due to lack of blood supply), among other conditions.

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