The hip resurfacing/hip replacement debate

Both total hip replacement and hip resurfacing procedures continue to spark a lively, ongoing discussion among orthopaedic surgeons. Total hip replacement is a proven, effective technique that results in excellent pain relief and function in most patients for many years. Hip resurfacing, on the other hand, has had its ups and downs—with implants that were introduced in the early 1990s, then withdrawn from the market, and reintroduced under special circumstances more than a decade later.

“Hip resurfacing is not new to orthopaedics. It has been around for more than 10 years now,” said William Maloney, MD, who moderated a media briefing on the issue during the 2008 AAOS Annual Meeting. “But direct-to-consumer advertising is driving patients to ask for the procedure without really understanding what is involved or even if they are suitable candidates.”

Hip replacement
According to panelist Paul F. Lachiewicz, MD, new technologies in total hip replacement make this procedure ideal for most patients with osteoarthritis and other conditions. Improved bearing surfaces and new ingrowth surfaces are significantly reducing previous concerns about wear and loosening.

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