By Karen Breytenbach
Two American orthopaedic surgeons have been taught an innovative hip surgery technique by a local surgeon.
Leith Stewart, an orthopaedic surgeon at Claremont Hospital (South Arfrica), last week demonstrated the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR) procedure to his guests, Ian Kovack from Kansas and Donald Polakoff from New Jersey.
One patient was a professional golfer in her 30s and the other an active woman in her 60s. Both were told they would be up and on crutches within two days, instead of six weeks if normal surgery was done.
Both will also be able to drive, cycle and swim within three weeks instead of six.
Stewart, an avid cyclist and snowboarder, has been performing the procedure for six years. He had a BHR performed on his left hip about four years ago, with great success.
Since 1997 the procedure, developed by two British surgeons as a bone conserving alternative to total hip replacement, has been used on about 51 000 patients in the UK, Germany, Australia and South Africa.
The procedure was only recently approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, on condition that surgeons receive training.
While total hip replacement has yielded good results in elderly inactive people, the procedure has been less successful in young and active people, who respond better to resurfacing.
Hip resurfacing is the replacement of the cartilage covering the surfaces of the ball at the end of the thigh bone (femur) and the cup-shaped cavity (acetabulum) into which it fits, with cobalt chrome, into which bone grows” in weeks”.