Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System

The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System is a metal-on-metal approach to resurfacing only the head of the femur (ball-shaped top of the thigh bone). This may be contrasted with a total hip replacement in which both bones in the hip joint (the femoral head and the acetabulum) are involved. The acetabulum is a cup-shaped indentation in the pelvis into which the femoral head is seated and rotates.

The BHR system consists of two parts:

  • A hip socket shaped like a cup, the acetabular portion. This replaces the damaged surface of the acetabulum.
  • A cap portion, shaped to cover the femoral head, much like a cap on a tooth is formed. The cap has a small stem that is inserted into the top of the thigh bone. Instead of replacing the femoral head, as in total hip replacement, just the surface of the femoral head is removed and the cap placed on it.

The cap on the femoral head moves within the cup in the acetabulum. The two parts are composed of a highly polished slippery metal. They are made to be durable and to glide easily against one another.

Who Is The Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System For?

The BHR System is meant for patients who in general are younger than 60 and physically active. These patients are not suitable candidates for a total hip replacement, because they are likely to need another hip replacement in their lives, and a second surgery is a more complicated, often less successful procedure.

The hip resurfacing system is meant to relieve pain and improve the function of the hip by replacing portions of the hip that are seriously damaged by degenerative joint disease. These include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Arthritis due to trauma
  • Dysplasia
  • Avascular necrosis

Potential Problems with Hip Resurfacing Approach

There are a few problems with this method of hip prosthetic surgery:

  • Lack of long-term data, so no one knows how well this type of hip surgery does over many years. The only data that are available are for about 10 years at the most.
  • Risk of bone fracture. The risk seems to be between 1 and 20 percent of patients. Fractures occur most often in patients with poor bone quality, obese patients, and women. The risk is higher if the surgeon has less experience in the procedure.
  • Just as in regular hip replacements, the resurfaced hips can loosen.
  • Release of metal particles. As the implants wear, the metal surfaces rubbing against each other release tiny metal particles that travel throughout the body. No one yet knows what effect these small particles, or metal ions, have.

The BHR System is made by Memphis-based Smith & Nephew, Inc. It was approved May 9, 2006.

Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System Lawsuits

If you've experienced problems with your implant, you might be eligible to file a Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) System lawsuit to seek compensation for your suffering. For more information, please contact our defective hip implant lawyers today.

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