Harvard Health Letter

Choices for hipsters

Hip replacements are common procedures, and their popularity is expected to increase as baby boomers age. Some younger patients opt for hip resurfacing, but there's one serious problem that hip resurfacing patients have that hip replacement patients don't. Sometimes the femoral neck of the resurfaced hip breaks, and a second operation — a hip replacement — is needed. Several reports have put the incidence of femoral neck fracture at between 1% and 2%. Some data suggest that the fractures are more likely to happen in women than in men, perhaps because of low bone density. Some surgeons say, therefore, the ideal hip resurfacing patient is not only young and thin, but also male. Poor surgical technique (hip resurfacing is a technically demanding operation to perform) and the shape and angle of the femoral neck have been blamed for the fractures. So while it's helpful to be familiar with the options, the skill and experience of the surgeon is often going to be more important than the type of replacement. 
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