Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
about Conservative Hip Replacement
(Birmingham Hip Replacment)

What is the wait time for Birmingham Hip Replacement surgery?

While there is usually a number of people waiting for this procedure some scheduling flexibility is possible based on need and availability.

Additionally, as outlined in my practice philosophy, expedited consultation and private surgery can be arranged (ideally allowing treatment within several months instead of several years). It is best that you call us for definitive information.

Is the resurfacing cost covered by my insurance?

I have to leave insurance coverage for you to explore. If your insurance does not cover this, then we can do it privately in our hospital. For Canadians, private surgery is usually not an option when insurance will cover. Note that costs of the procedure and the prosthesis may be separate.

Can I purchase the Birmingham Hip prosthesis myself?

Surgical implants can only be sold to physicians or hospitals. My office has in the past purchased prostheses on behalf of the patient.

The Health Authority locally now is exploring the option of having people pay a surcharge for the Birmingham hip. This may create some opportunity to exercise some control over the timing of this procedure.

I would like to avoid long waiting lists with private care, can you help?

Hip surgery is performed in the public hospital system. Current waitlists have been reduced greatly.

I live out of province (eg. Alberta) and would like to seek speedier treatment with you. What is involved?

Waiting lists in BC are not better than in Alberta. However, if the Alberta healthplan approves the cost of the prosthesis, then in conjunction with an expedited procedure the treatment can be done within a few months. This has been done before for several patients from the Yukon, whose total wait times were approx 4-6 months.

How many resurfacings have you done?

As of January 2008 we have performed approximately 80 Birmingham Hip Replacements in Peace Arch Hospital.

Do you always use the BHR?

BHR is my preferred hip resurfacing implant for now because of its well established track record.

Is Birmingham Hip Resurfacing available in the US?

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing has become available in the USA.

My husband is 41 years old, his doctors feel he is a candidate for a total hip replacement or possibly BHR and it is up to him to decide when he can no longer take the pain. What outcome can he expect from BHR?

If you follow this link to Smith & Nephew, you will get some idea regarding the level of activity that is realistic after this operation.

I am an active 51 year old male and have an oesteoarthritic hip that needs to be replaced. After surgery and recuperation would I still be able to do long distance running?

Birmingham replacement in this age group is thought to have a lower failure rate than more conventional stemmed prostheses. Patients have been reported to resume running. I do not recommend this.

If this is realistic for you (i.e. no other major health or joint issues), you have to accept a gradual return to this high level of activity, to strengthen the femoral neck bone. Furthermore, intense running may still lead to early or earlier failure. It will almost certainly increase the rate of metal ion generation, which may have implications for your general health. This concern has not been substantiated as of to date.

It has been said that a hip replacement will last x years and then needs to be done again. What is the "life expectancy" of Birmingham Hip Resurfacing?

A standard hip replacement has approximately 90-95% chance to be still satisfactory and functional at 10 years.

The exception is the group of young patients, perhaps between 40-55 y of age, who have a markedly higher failure rate. However, the effect of newer bearing surfaces of the longevity of standard total hip replacement in this group has not been established yet. Most likely, significant improvement will be obtained with these newer designs.

The Birmingham hip replacement may have a very low failure rate at 8 years, approximately 1%. More recent data suggests that a slightly higher early failure rate may be present. It is thought that once the first 1-2 years have passed the risk of failure becomes very low.

Based on this, most Birmingham hip replacements are expected to last for a long time, 20 or 30 years would not be unreasonable to assume. However, only time will tell.

As I always tell my patients, if you want to know the long term results of the Birmingham hip, you will have to wait another 10-20 years. Current estimates are based on early implant performance data.

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