Features January 2008 Issue

Hip Repair: Resurface or Replace?

Total joint replacement was once the only surgical cure for advanced hip disease. Today, femoral resurfacing is gaining favor as a viable option.

At what point should you consider undergoing reconstructive hip surgery? "If your pain is constant and interferes with your daily activities, when it keeps you from falling asleep or causes you to wake up during the night, when you’ve tried all of the nonsurgical treatments and nothing has helped, you should certainly think about it," advises Peter Brooks, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. It’s risky, he notes, to put off surgery until the pain from your ailing hip becomes overly agonizing. "Things are only going to get worse," says Dr. Brooks. "Your back is going to suffer and you’ll start to limp, which will affect your other hip and your knees. The pain will be bad for your emotional health as well—it will affect your whole outlook on life. There’s no point in toughing it out, since a cure is available."

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