It’s amazing how the language we use to describe our surgeries shape how patients think about them. Most patients who hear the term, “hip resurfacing” think that it merely involves adding a small cap here and there and they’re done. Patients are drawn to this procedure because of a sense that it’s associated with a more rapid recovery than traditional hip replacement surgery. An internet search this morning shows several local advertisements that claim that these procedures are for younger and more active patients. I’ve blogged before on how the class of metal on metal hips used in resurfacing have been a disaster. These hips shed metal wear particles that are responsible for everything from local tissue irritation to nerve damage. A recent news story also highlighted the need for metal allergy testing with these devices, as metal allergies were surprisingly common. In addition, this news is among a background of negative reports on wear particles from just about all types of joint replacements and at least one large study suggested that knee joint implants are associated with an increased risk of cancer. The New York Times also recently reported on the alarming rate at which hip resurfacing implants were failing. Now a study out of an English registry this week shows that the type of metal of metal hips used in hip resurfacing wear out 2-3 times more quickly than other prosthesis types! Younger patients who were women had the highest chance of needing a hip surfacing revision surgery. In addition, a larger hip resurfacing joint increased the chance of prosthesis failure. The upshot? “Hip Resurfacing” is really just a smaller hip replacement surgery with a metal on metal prostheses. Given the problems with hip resurfacing, between the wear particles and the fact that this type of joint wears out faster, hip resurfacing appears to be too good to be true!