Hip Resurface vs. THL?

My name is Patti and I live in Sonoma, California.  I’m a 62-year-old ultra-marathoner who was started having issues about a year ago with what I thought was my IT band or hip flexors.  After trying physical therapy and a number of other treatments, X-rays indicated I have severe arthritis.  I then had an MRI with contrast that confirmed I have labral tears and severe arthritis.  I saw an orthopedic surgeon who suggested a total hip replacement when I felt as though it was warranted.  Interestingly, I have been able to continue to run, but things have progressively gotten worse and I’m now seriously considering a hip replacement.

In searching for solutions on the Internet, I came across hip resurfacing as an option.  I’m posting here because I would really appreciate any comments, opinions or experiences related to hip resurfacing.  From what I’ve read and seen, it appears to be a great alternative for active people/runners, but would love to hear from this group.  I really appreciate any advice and am so happy to have found this awesome forum  (thank you, Hip Brother Tom!!).  Thanks!!


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    • #20963

      My name is Patti and I live in Sonoma, California.  I’m a 62-year-old ultra-marathoner who was started having issues about a year ago with what I thou
      [See the full post at: Hip Resurface vs. THL?]

    • #20965

      Hi Patti – when it was time for my first hip replacement in 2020 at the age of 64 I did the same research and had the same question. I found a surgeon that did both replacements and resurfacing. He told me that at my age resurfacing was not covered by insurance and that replacement will allow me to continue to compete in both running and swimming events. Since the replacement I have logged many thousands miles of running, biking and hiking pain free and competed in both half Ironman and half marathon races.

    • #20966

      Hi Patti,

      I have a resurfaced hip, the original metal on metal Birmingham resurfacing now owned by Smith & Nephew. It was fitted in 2014, just before I became 64, and was done with less than ideal bome quality. Insurance did pay, however, and my surgeon was happy to give me what I asked for. This hip is still going strong, from racing 5k to short ultras to long days in the mountains.

      Due to worse results when women and smaller men were being resurfaced, the manufacturers withdrew the smaller sizes from their range, and stopped surgeons attempting to fit to females. Other similar devices are still available, though, and surgeons will still treat women, but there only a few in the US and they are not cheap..

      My other hip is a Zimmer ceramic/ceramic Total replacement, fitted in 2017 when an attempt to fit a BHR to a 66 year old with poor bone ended with the femoral head snapping off. I was disappointed to have a THR but in many ways it is the superior device, with more range of motion and no slight sensation of being artificial. Same surgeon, same operation (lateral incision, nothing fancy). He promised I would not be able to break the device and so far has been proved correct! Racing a half-marathon on Sunday, won my category over 8 miles last weekend.

      I think you should take your surgeon’s advice, and a modern THR will not wear out in the likely time remaining to you – that’s how I see it, anyway…


      PS have a look at surfacehippy website/forum for more information about resurfacing and surgeons.

    • #20975

      Thanks to you both for your great replies, I really appreciate it! I’m still investigating and will re-post once I have a decision and going forward. Cheers and happy hip running!

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