How Is Birmingham Hip Resurfacing Performed?

The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) procedure was first introduced in 1997 in the UK by Derek McMinn and Ronan Tracy, and it was the first FDA-authorized hip resurfacing procedure available for US citizens, receiving approval in May 2006.

BHR is a less invasive option compared to Total Hip Replacement and it was designed to preserve more native bone in the femur's head and neck. With more bone available younger patients will have more options for future interventions if they're required, including a conventional hip replacement.

Hip Resurfacing Process

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing begins by administering a general or spinal anesthetic to sedate the patient during the procedure. The surgical intervention can last between 1 ½ and 3 hours, usually averaging 2 hours.

  • The patient is positioned on his side, allowing the surgeon to make a 6-8 inches incision in the thigh and gain access to the hip joint.
  • Damaged bone and cartilage are shaved off the femoral head's peripheries using special equipment.
  • The metal replacement for the femoral head is inserted into the femur's neck and attached using surgical cement.
  • Afflicted bone and cartilage are cleared from the pelvic socket.
  • The metal socket replacement is fixed into position, attaching itself to the pelvis due to the roughened texture on its back.
  • The new femoral head is moved in place into the reconstructed joint socket.
  • After the intervention is completed, the surgeon closes the incision using stitches.

What to Expect After Surgery

After the anesthetic wears off, the patient will usually spend 1 or 2 days in admission or longer, depending on the degree of the injury and other conditions. An X-ray may be required to ensure that the intervention was successful.

Patients will likely experience some degree of pain and require mobility aids to alleviate the pressure on the reconstructed hip. Painkillers like nonsteroidal anti-inflammation drugs are usually prescribed to ease post-operative pain. Physical therapy will begin soon to help regain mobility and strength.

Rehabilitation from BHR surgery usually involves three stages:

  • Immediate Post-Op Stage – 3 to 4 weeks
  • Intermediate Stage – 4 to 12 weeks
  • Return to Prior Activity Levels – varies depending on the intended level of effort  

Generally, patients can expect to resume regular activities 6 weeks after their intervention. Patients can expect a full return to unrestricted activities and sports after 12 months of adequate rehabilitation.