Date: 10/5/2006

New hip technology at St. Mary Medical Center restores active lifestyles in younger to mid-age adults

Medical advances are being made in the field of hip resurfacing at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart with new technology called, ReCap® Femoral Resurfacing Head, a device that enables the surgeon to provide a more precise fit and a minimally invasive procedure.

HOBART — Michael Leland, M.D., orthopedic surgeon on staff at St. Mary Medical Center, is offering new hope and a fuller range of motion to younger adults suffering from osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis or other femoral bone-related conditions.

St. Mary Medical Center is the only hospital in Northwest Indiana offering patients access to a new hip resurfacing procedure in which the worn surface of the femur bone in the hip is replaced using a technology known as the ReCap® Femoral Resurfacing System.

A human hip joint is comprised of the rounded head or “ball” portion of the thigh bone, or femur that fits snugly into a deep cavity called the acetabulum, or “socket.” The resulting ball-and-socket joint allows great latitude of thigh movement. When the smooth cartilage lining that enables the snug fit between the two bones becomes damaged due to a variety of factors, it can cause excruciating pain. Treatment options may include a total joint replacement or a less invasive procedure called hip resurfacing.

Younger and middle-age adults can suffer joint pain for a variety of reasons. Osteoarthritis is a disorder in which the cartilage in the joints of the body gradually breaks down and allows bone surfaces to rub directly and wear against each other. Osteoarthritis is not just a disease for the elderly, but often attacks younger adults as well. Another disease, rheumatoid arthritis, attacks the soft tissue and cartilage surfaces of the joints causing intense pain. Trauma or impact to the hip joint from an accident, fall, workplace or athletic injury may accelerate the process of cartilage breakdown in the hip joint. Avascular necrosis, bone collapse or deterioration due to loss of blood flow to the hip, is another painful condition caused by trauma, blood disorders or alcoholism.

Individuals with any of these conditions may be seeking relief from their pain, but may want to avoid the major surgery and extensive recovery time involved with a total hip replacement. In a hip replacement operation, a large part of the femur is completely removed and then reconstructed with prosthesis, along with the ball and socket portion of the hip joint. With the ReCap Femoral Resurfacing System, a metal cap, called the ReCap® Femoral Resurfacing Head, is affixed to the top or head of the femur, which is simply reshaped instead of being removed altogether.

“Biomet® Orthopedics ReCap Hip Resurfacing System is a good fit with my focus on sports medicine,” said Leland, who is also an orthopedic specialist at Lakeshore Bone & Joint Institute. “I’m happy to be able to provide this alternative surgical option to patients who may benefit from this advanced technology.”

ReCap Femoral Resurfacing System provides a less invasive treatment option that includes a smaller incision, less blood loss, quicker recovery time, and minimal impact to the femoral head. The technology, which consists of the ReCap Femoral Resurfacing Head in high-strength cobalt chromium, does not require a long metal stem to be inserted deep into the bone or a socket replacement as would total hip replacement surgery. This unique design minimizes risk of leg length discrepancies; lowers risk of dislocation, and may delay or prevent the need for a total hip replacement later in life.

According to Leland, the entire surgical procedure takes about one to one and one-half hours and usually involves an overnight stay. This procedure may be an option for patients with bones without osteoporosis and — other than the joint - in generally healthy condition, he said. The ReCap Femoral Resurfacing System is FDA cleared for use in the United States.

For a complete listing of orthopedic physicians on staff at St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart, a part of Community Healthcare System, call 219-836-3477 or toll-free at 1-866-836-3477.