Joint resurfacing is when an orthopedic surgeon removes as little damaged cartilage and bone as possible and then replaces it with a plastic or metal cap, unlike a joint replacement which removes the bone and damaged socket then replaces the whole joint with a prosthetic, or artificial joint.
The benefits of joint resurfacing include:
- Easier revisions – most resurfacing and joint replacement procedures last between 10 and 20 years. However, when a revision is needed, many orthopedic surgeons believe it is less complicated and easier on the patient to revise a resurfacing because it conserves more of the original joint.
- Less chance for dislocation – because the whole joint is not removed and the prosthetic is closer to the size of the natural joint, it is less likely the joint will become dislocated.
- More natural movement – people who undergo joint resurfacing reserve more of the natural movement of their joint.
You may be a candidate for joint resurfacing if:
- You have advanced arthritis in isolated joints
- Have tried and failed at conservative treatment options like medications, injections, or physical therapy
- Are younger than 60 years of age
- Physically fit and strong with generally healthy bone