A hip replacement involves the removal of the arthritic cartilage and replacing the ball (femoral head) and socket (acetabulum) with artificial parts. The concept of surface replacement, also known as hip resurfacing, originated in the 1970ís as an attempt to preserve bone during the implantation of an artificial hip joint. While the first generation of hip resurfacing implants resulted in a high failure rate, hip resurfacing technology has evolved in recent years, with new surface materials and precision tolerances that give improved and promising results in certain patients for whom this procedure may be indicated.
While every orthopaedic treatment has both benefits and risks, there are some advantages unique to surface replacement, including the preservation of bone, which may allow for a more successful revision surgery, should the need arise. Also, the preservation of bone allows for a much larger ball size, allowing for greater stability of the hip joint and a lower risk of dislocation. Disadvantages include possible femur fracture, nerve injury, and metal wearing inside the joint.