Huron Valley-Sinai Is the First Michigan Hospital to Offer an Alternative to Traditional Hip Replacement

Constance Lee, 44, of Northville, has been considering hip replacement surgery for years. Due to a congenital problem, her hip and nearby bones don't connect properly and she has osteoarthritis. Since the age of 17, she has experienced episodes of severe pain and reduced mobility.

"I never know when it's (the femur) going to pop out. I have nil range of motion on one side. I cannot deal with the pain," she explained. However, Lee decided to postpone the surgery as long as possible because she was told that a plastic hip replacement device would last only five years.

So she was grateful to learn about the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System, which shaves away the damaged surface of the bone and replaces the malfunctioning joint with a metal cap and socket. According to Smith & Nephew, the British maker of the device, the metal on metal joint is 98% more wear resistant than the metal on plastic implants used in traditional hip replacement surgery. As a result, the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing System is recommended for younger patients, ages 40 to 60, who want to be physically active.

The Birmingham Hip implant is made of carbide cobalt chrome, a smooth durable material which will result in less friction and wear. A metal cap is fitted over the top of the resurfaced femoral ball and a socket or cup is fitted into the patient's pelvic socket. More bone is retained than in traditional hip surgery, maintaining future surgical options.

Philip Schmitt, D.O., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital, who has offices in Commerce and Hartland, completed three Birmingham Hip Resurfacing procedures at the hospital today. Dr. Schmitt is one of two southeast Michigan surgeons trained in England to perform this new form of hip replacement. "It was a great experience to be able to operate with Dr. Treacy, one of the two surgeons who invented the procedure," commented Dr. Schmitt.

The implant has been used in Great Britain since the 1970s and has been implanted in more than 60,000 patients worldwide. It was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year.

"This is a very promising technology. The Birmingham Hip resurfacing system allows a better range of motion and is less likely to result in hip dislocation than a plastic hip implant," said Dr. Schmitt.

Lee was one of Dr. Schmitt's first patients to receive the new implant system. Dr. Schmitt told her that the hip implant would last "the rest of your life." After recovery from her surgery, she hopes to play softball again.

Founded in 1986, Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital ( has more than doubled in size and greatly expanded its services to meet the needs of rapidly-growing Oakland County. It is ranked as one of the top hospitals in southeast Michigan for patient satisfaction. Huron Valley-Sinai is one of nine hospitals operated by the Detroit Medical Center (DMC). The DMC is proud to be the official healthcare services provider of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Red Wings, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Shock.

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