Birmingham Hip Resurfacing" System preserves bone; ideal alternative for active patientsNEW ORLEANS, LA This week, Ochsner Health System performed the first alternative to total hip replacement in the Gulf South region called the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) technique. According to Ochsner Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. George Chimento, who performed the surgery, rather than replacing the entire hip joint, as in a total hip replacement, hip resurfacing shaves and caps a few centimeters of bone within the joint. The bone-conserving approach of the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System preserves more of the patients natural bone structures and stability, covering the joints surfaces with an all-metal implant that more closely resembles a tooth cap than a hip implant. This approach reduces the post-operative risks of dislocation and inaccurate leg length, and because the all-metal implant is made from smooth cobalt chrome, it has the potential to last longer than traditional hip implants. More importantly, it offers patients greater range of motion than a traditional total hip replacement. This is one of the most exciting procedures Ive seen in years, explains Dr. Chimento. I see hip resurfacing as a solution for many of my young, active patients who suffer from hip pain. As my patients are getting younger and younger, and staying physically active much later in life, Ive needed an alternative to total hip replacement that accommodates their age and lifestyle. The Birmingham Hip implant is for patients suffering from hip pain due to osteoarthritis, dysplasia or avascular necrosis, and for whom total hip replacement may not be appropriate due to their high level of activity. For this reason, most surgeons feel it is ideal for patients under age 60 who live non-sedentary lifestyles. According to Dr. Chimento, while the BHR implant closely matches the size of a patients natural femoral head (hip ball), its substantially larger than the femoral head of a traditional total hip replacement implant. This increased size translates to greater stability in the new joint, conserves bone and provides greater range of motion. This new hip resurfacing technique leaves the head and neck nearly untouched. Total hip replacement, however, involves the removal of the entire femoral head and neck. It is this neck length and angle that determines the natural length of a patients 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. The Birmingham Hip implant is an all-metal ball and socket joint. Traditional hip replacements use a metal ball and a plastic socket. And, 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.