Hip resurfacing involves surgery to reshape or replace the damaged surface of the femoral head of the femur, or the socket where the femur is connected to the hip joint. Hip replacement involves surgery to replace the damaged sections of the hip joint with new joint surfaces, explains WebMD.
Hip resurfacing is generally less invasive than a complete hip replacement. In this procedure, a metal cap is placed over the head of the femur and a metal cup is placed in the pelvis socket. Because hip resurfacing only replaces the damaged surface of the hip joint, it requires less bone removal than a replacement, according to Bowling Orthopedics. The chances of hip dislocation are reduced with this procedure. If the parts wear out and need to be replaced there is still enough bone surface to perform a hip replacement if necessary, notes WebMD.
Hip replacement involves actually replacing the damaged portions of the hip joint and replacing them with metal and plastic parts, according to Mayo Clinic. Replacement parts are attached to existing bones with cement that glues the artificial parts to the bone, or with a porous coating that allows the bone to fill the openings in the coating, ultimately adhering the joint to the bone over time, explains WebMD.