How Is Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Different from Total Hip Replacement?

When the hip joint suffers damage from an injury or by the progressive wear down of the cartilage, a physician may recommend surgical intervention if conservative treatment options fail to alleviate symptoms.

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) is an alternative to Total Hip Replacement, mostly recommended to young and active individuals. While the hip joint requires replacement components in both procedures, there are distinct differences that set them apart.

How Do They Differ?

In a standard Total Hip Replacement operation, the symptoms are addressed by replacing the femur ball and the pelvic socket. The femoral head is replaced with a stemmed component and fitted in the proximal femur (thing bone). The stemmed implant has a ball on the tip that articulates with the replaced socket in the pelvis.

Total Hip Replacement has a few drawbacks for individuals that want to maintain an active lifestyle and whose age would allow them to outlast the expected durability of a conventional hip replacement, estimated at 10 to 20 years. A failed hip replacement caused by joint loosening and thinning articulation may require a revisionary procedure, which is riskier due to less available bone matter to fix the new replacements.

Conversely, Birmingham Hip Resurfacing is a radically different procedure in how the femoral neck is addressed. Rather than removing the femoral head, surgeons shave it down to allow a replacement ball to be fitted around it, thus preserving more bone. The metal socket replacement is fitted into the pelvis similarly and allows the replaced femoral head to fit in perfectly.

What Are The Advantages?

  • The BHR procedure preserves more bone on the femur and makes potential revision surgery less complicated.
  • Due to the increased femoral head size compared to hip replacements, dislocations are less likely to occur.
  • Stress is more evenly distributed to the femoral head due to a smaller metal implant in the femur's neck.
  • Since the BHR procedure removes less bone, the likelihood of post-op unequal limbs is highly reduced.
  • BHR provides more resiliency for higher intensity activities like jogging or sports.
  • BHR implants are more durable and last longer in young patients than total hip replacements.