The learning curve for adopting hip resurfacing among hip specialists

Ryan M. Nunley, Jinjun Zhu, Peter J. Brooks, C. Anderson Engh, Stephen J. Raterman, John S. Rogerson, Robert L. Barrack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Patient demand and surgeon interest in hip resurfacing has recently increased, but surgeons in the United States are relatively inexperienced with this procedure. We determined the learning curve associated with hip resurfacing and compared the rate of early complications of the first 650 hip resurfacings between five experienced hip surgeons and a national safety survey database study we previously published, which included 89 surgeons and 537 hip resurfacings. Patient demographics and adverse events were recorded. Specific features on pre- and postoperative radiographs were measured in a blinded fashion by a single observer. There were 13 major complications (2.0%), which is 3.7 times lower than our national safety survey complication rate of 7.4%. All fractures occurred in the first 25 cases performed. The complication rate was higher for the first 25 procedures (5.6%) compared with the second 25 procedures (1.6%). For experienced hip surgeons, the learning curve for avoiding early complications was short, 25 cases or less. The learning curve for achieving the desired component positioning radiographically was much longer, 75 to 100 cases or more. If achieving some ideal component position proves important for long-term function and implant survival, improved instrumentation and surgical techniques would be necessary to shorten the learning curve. Level of Evidence: Level II, prognostic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)382-391
Number of pages10
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


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