Alternative to hip replacement

There is a new option for patients suffering from hip pain who do not want to give up their active lifestyle.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center is one of the first hospitals in the U.S. to offer a new alternative for total hip replacement - hip resurfacing. The technique allows the orthopedic surgeon to shave and cap several centimeters of bone within the hip joint, helping to preserve bone and joint stability for young or active patients.

The Innovative Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System preserves more of the patient's natural bone structures and stability, covering the joint's surfaces with an all-metal implant that more closely resembles a tooth cap than a hip implant. This approach reduces post-operative risks of dislocation and inaccurate leg length, and because the all-metal implant is made from durable, smooth cobalt chrome, it has the potential to last longer than traditional hip implants.

"Hip resurfacing is ideal for many of my young, active patients who suffer from hip pain. As we've seen greater numbers of younger patients and older patients that are physically active, there's been an increased need for an alternative to total hip replacement that accommodates their age and lifestyle," says Dr. William B. Macaulay, director of the Center for Hip and Knee Replacement at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia, and associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and advisory dean at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

The FDA-approved procedure is indicated for patients under that age of 60 who live non-sedentary lifestyles and suffer from hip pain due to a variety of diseases which affect the hip joint.

Total hip replacement involves the removal of the entire femoral head and neck. The hip resurfacing technique, however, leaves the head and neck untouched. It is this neck length and angle that determines the natural length of a patient's leg after surgery, and since it is not removed and replaced with an artificial device during the resurfacing procedure, there is a greater likelihood of maintaining accurate leg length.

While the implant closely matches the size of a patient's natural femoral head (hip ball), it is substantially larger than the femoral head of a traditional total hip replacement implant. This increased size translates to greater stability in the new joint, and it decreases the chance of dislocation of the implant after surgery. Dislocation is a leading cause of implant failure after total hip replacement.

The Birmingham Hip implant is an all-metal ball and socket joint. Traditional hip replacements use a metal ball and a plastic socket. This plastic socket wears down over time, and may need to be replaced surgically. In fact, it is a leading cause of follow-up surgeries.

The Innovative Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System is manufactured by Smith & Nephew Inc. of Memphis.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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