For Immediate Release
28 August 2007
Media Contact: Kevin Robinson

SVMC Orthopedic Surgeons Introduce New Hip Resurfacing Technology

Active, althetic people with hip problems in southern Vermont now have a new option for getting rid of nagging hip pain. 

By resurfacing the ball and cup of the hip joint, the new Birmingham Hip resurfacing technique preserves more natural bone than other hip replacements.

SVMC orthopedic surgeons Robert Block, MD, and William Ketterer, MD, recently completed training on the new Birmingham Hip resurfacing technology. Because it lasts longer than conventional artificial hip joints, the new Birmingham Hip is perfectly suited for younger active people who want to stay active.

"Conventional hip replacements actually replace both the ball and the socket of the hip joint," explained Ketterer. "The Birmingham Hip creates a special metal socket and a metal cap that fits over the head of the femur. It preserves much more of the patient's bone."

Ketterer explained that the metal on metal joint avoids many of the problems of wear that come with other joint replacements. It uses a high-carbide cobalt chrome metal. This metal has been used in hip replacement for about 40 years. It has an excellent track record for wear and durability.

"Hip resurfacing is not right for everyone," Ketterer explained. "It is particularly useful for younger, more active patients considering hip replacement to relieve hip pain. It is not recommended for the elderly or the inactive."

The Birmingham hip is made of high-carbide cobalt chrome metal that is highly polished. This creates an artificial joint with a longer lifespan than conventional hip joints.
Most patients who are good candidates for hip resurfacing are under 55 years old. Older people also may be good candidates. But they must be physically active and pass a simple bone quality examination.

The Birmingham Hip is one of the most extensively studied hip resurfacing technologies. In use since 1997, very few patients with Birmingham hips have needed additional surgery to repair problems. More than 99 percent of patients reported that they were "pleased" or "extremely pleased" with the results.

"We are pleased to be among the first surgeons in Vermont offering this technology," Ketterer added.

"We want patients in the Bennington area to know that they don't have to travel to Albany, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, or Fletcher Allen to get the latest technology. We are committed to delivering it right here at SVMC."