Harvard Health Letter

Easier way to help your hip?

A procedure known as hip resurfacing is emerging as an alternative to hip replacement. In a total hip replacement, the damaged surface of the hip's socket is removed, along with the ball at the top of the hip bone (femur) and a bit of the femur itself. The ball and neck of the femur are then replaced with prosthetic components. In hip resurfacing, the surgeon places a prosthetic cap on the femoral head, preserving the neck, and resurfaces the acetabulum. Insurance pays for both procedures and recovery time is the same: three days in the hospital, followed by 4–6 weeks of physical therapy. But not everyone has the right anatomy for hip resurfacing, and because of its track record, total hip replacement is best for people over 65.
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