MARION – In the past, if you had hip problems in your 40s and 50s, you were
looking at 20 years of pain killers and a limited lifestyle before you could get
a hip replacement.
Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Richard Morgan is offering a procedure for treating hip
arthritis and other degenerative joint diseases that lowers the age of the
target group by as much as 20 years.
Previously, the target group for hip replacement surgery was 70 years old. The
replacements only lasted 20 years and the procedure was thus postponed until the
patient was likely not to outlive the replacement.
That left a lot of younger patients in the position of having to live on
Now Dr. Morgan is able to help younger patients with a different procedure
called the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System. It is the only FDA-approved hip
resurfacing device in the United States.
“It is a more difficult procedure than a total hip replacement,” Dr. Morgan
said. “The incision is larger, but less bone is removed.”
The reason the system lasts longer than traditional total hip replacements is
that, with the Birmingham procedure, both the socket and the ball of the hip are
made of metal and thus wear on the joint is minimal. These metal parts are
attached to healthy bone and less real bone is removed for the procedure.
Candidates for the Birmingham Hip must have healthy bone surrounding the joint.
The Birmingham Hip has been done for 20 years in England and the wear on the
joints has proved to be minimal.
Dr. Morgan began doing the Birmingham procedure at Heartland about a year ago.
So far he has done six of the new procedures.
Recovery is quick as with a total hip. Six weeks on a walker is all that is
Dr. Morgan cautions that the Birmingham procedure is designed to get people back
on the golf course or back in the gym. It is not intended to restore a
professional athlete to the NFL.