The cartilage in Stephanie’s hip bone had eroded to the point where she couldn’t walk unless she stuck two fingers into her hip joint. “I couldn’t walk on the beach; I couldn’t swim. I was a homebody,” she says.
When her chronic pain became too much to bear, Stephanie turned to South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for help.
After meeting with James D. Hoffman, M.D., F.A.A.O.S., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, Stephanie took a few weeks to consider her options before finally deciding on surgery. With Dr. Hoffman’s guidance, Stephanie elected to undergo an anterior approach total hip replacement.
“I met with (Dr. Hoffman), he showed me my x-rays, and told me I had bone on bone arthritis and that I could benefit from a total hip replacement,” says Stephanie. “It scared me. I said I would get back to him. About 3 or 4 weeks later we met and had a consultation. He explained everything in great detail. The way he does it is so gentle and thorough. He makes you feel completely comfortable, and when I walked out, I knew I made the right choice.”
Stephanie’s decision paid off almost immediately following her procedure. “The surgery has changed my whole life,” says Stephanie. “I stood up straight and walked perfectly 2 hours after surgery.”
What is an Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement?
First performed in 1960, hip replacement surgery is one of the most common and successful operations performed in the U.S., with the highest number of procedures performed among those aged 75 and older. Over 300,000 total hip replacements are done annually in the U.S., and almost 1 percent of Americans, or 2.5 million people, currently live with an artificial hip.
The hip joint consists of the upper end of the thigh bone (femur) which, under normal circumstances, fits smoothly into a cupped-shape cavity in the pelvic bone, known as the acetabulum. Protective tissues such as tendons, ligaments, and muscles hold the bones together. Cartilage covers the bones, and combined with the synovial fluid within the joint, enables the bones to glide evenly over each other.
Hip replacement surgery, or hip arthroplasty, replaces a damaged or weak hip with prosthetic hardware. The goal of all hip replacement surgery is to replace the damaged hip with metal, components to alleviate hip pain and enhance hip function. Modern anterior approach total hip replacement surgical techniques provide significant advantages regarding tissue-sparing, post-surgery mobility, and recovery times.
Anterior approach hip replacement surgery, allows the surgeon to access the damaged parts of the hip using a smaller incision through the front (anterior) portion of the hip. Traditional hip replacement surgery typically uses incisions through the side or back of the hip, involving detachment of muscles and tendons from the hip bones to successfully restore the joint. The anterior approach permits the surgeon to preserve precious muscle and connective tissue without severing them from the pelvic or thigh bones.
Benefits of Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement
Keeping the tendons intact during direct anterior hip replacement eliminates the need for hip precautions and allows patients to return to normal daily activities shortly after surgery with a reduced risk of dislocation.
The anterior approach procedure often results in faster recovery, reduced pain, and improved early function after hip replacement. Leaving the connective tissue intact allows patients to resume their daily routine with a lower risk of dislocation.
Anterior approach total hip replacement also provides the following benefits:
- Decreased trauma to the muscles and tendons
- Greater prevention of hip dislocations
- Less chance of limping
“(The surgery) was a piece of cake,” says Stephanie. “I never had any pain afterward. That was the amazing part. Everyone kept asking me ‘how’s your pain level?’ I’m like: ‘I don’t have any! That was my aha moment.’”
Stephanie gives credit to the staff at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine for creating a peaceful and nurturing environment and putting her mind at ease. “The staff was cheerful, gentle, and kind as can be; they play music to keep you calm,” she says. “And when it was time to go, they came to get me. From the time I went in until the time I went home, I have nothing but great things to say about the staff.”
Grateful for regaining her ability to walk pain-free, Stephanie looks forward to enjoying everything retired life has to offer. “I never should have let it go this long. My retirement would have started on a much nicer note.”