A new procedure called the Birmingham Hip™ Resurfacing System, considered to be an alternative to hip replacement surgery is now provided by Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas. This new total hip resurfacing technique and implant technique, previously unavailable in the U.S. has now been permitted by the FDA. Presently just two orthopedic surgeons from Baylor Dallas in North Texas have been taught to carry out this procedure.
Similar to a tooth cap, hip resurfacing is performed by shaving and capping a few centimeters of bone within the joint rather than replacing the entire hip joint, as in a total hip replacement. This bone-conserving approach preserves more of the patient's natural bone structure and stability by covering the joint's surfaces with an all-metal implant. The approach reduces post-operative risks such as joint dislocation and inaccurate leg length—two of the leading causes of implant failure after total hip replacements.
'This procedure is intended for younger, active patients who live a non-sedentary lifestyle who may be suffering from hip pain due to osteoarthritis, dysplasia or avascular necrosis,' says Kurt Rathjen, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas trained to perform the new hip resurfacing procedure. 'For these people, a total hip replacement may not be their best option.'
Hip replacements are usually necessary when a patient can no longer manage severe hip pain with medication or other means such as physical therapy or exercise. In the United States, it is estimated that 400,000 total hip replacements are performed each year. Analysts believe that as many as 60,000 of these patients could be candidates for hip resurfacing.
'There's a perception that the audience for hip replacement surgery is elderly, but that's really not the case anymore,' says Richard Schubert, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on the medical staff at Baylor Dallas also trained to perform the hip resurfacing procedure. 'We're seeing patients in their 40s and 50s who are already experiencing severe osteoarthritis that limits their daily activities.'
Drs. Rathjen and Schubert say that after undergoing hip resurfacing most patients should be able to return to their normal physical activities after the first year.
'Hip resurfacing allows the patient to return to a higher level of activity than with traditional total hip replacements,' adds Dr. Schubert.
The Birmingham Hip™ Resurfacing System is new to the United States, but has been in use worldwide since 1997. The Birmingham Hip has been implanted in more than 60,000 patients in 27 countries and has the longest clinical history of any current-generation resurfacing device. The Birmingham Hip ™ Resurfacing System was developed in England and is manufactured by Smith & Nephew, Inc.