Robert Koci, aged 72, has maintained an impressive level of fitness for decades. A few years ago, however, he began developing hip pain that eventually sidelined him from the lifestyle he loved so much.
He turned to James D. Hoffman, M.D., FAAOS of South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine to help him find relief from his pain and resume his active lifestyle, and found exactly that. He was able to return to the gym within weeks of his anterior approach total hip replacement surgery and says the only thing he regrets is how long he waited to have the surgery.
“The biggest advantage is that it’s such a fast recovery,” says Koci. “People I’ve talked to that know of other people who have had surgery…are just amazed at all that I’m doing in such a short period of time after the surgery.”
Hip discomfort is one of the most common sources of pain reported by patients. According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, the number of hip replacements performed each year in the US skyrocketed between 2000 and 2010 – with the total number of surgeries performed each year now sitting at a rate of between 142.2 to 257.0 per 100,000 people. Common reasons for hip replacement surgeries include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Injury of the hip joint
- Bone tumors that degrade the hip joint
Hip replacement surgery is not typically a first-line treatment recommended by orthopaedic specialists. After a complete physical exam and discussion of lifestyle goals and habits, the physician will work with patients to determine the best course of action to get them back to their pre-injury level of function. Oftentimes, treatment begins with conservative measures such as:
- Walking aids, like a cane or crutches
- An exercise / lifestyle regimen
- Physical therapy
If these options don’t bring relief, however, hip replacement surgery is the next viable and safe option. The anterior approach total hip replacement is one such surgical approach for hip replacement that has been shown to yield superior results for patient.
The Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement Advantage
Although the anterior approach total hip replacement is lauded by many as a positive advancement in hip replacement technique, it is estimated that just 15%-20% of all hip replacements are done this way. Advocates of the anterior approach total hip replacement say the procedure can bring certain key advantages, including:
- Less damage to major muscles. There are fewer muscles on the front side of the hip, and with the anterior approach technique, the surgeon does not cut through muscle fibers or detach muscles from bones. Instead, the surgeon works between them, thus allowing for less pain, quicker recovery and smaller incisions following surgery.
- Less postoperative pain. Not cutting into major muscles as mentioned above typically means less pain following surgery, meaning patients also won’t need to rely on pain medications for extended periods of time.
- Faster recovery. Patients are walking the same day as surgery and allowed to bend at the hip as soon as they feel comfortable doing so. They can typically begin to rely on crutches or a walker sooner than their patients who have undergone the traditional approach to a total hip replacement.
- Decreased risk of hip dislocation. Many hip replacement patients worry about the potential for a dislocated hip following surgery, but the anterior hip replacement surgery does not disturb the muscles or soft tissue structures responsible for keeping the hip in place, helping decrease the risk of future hip dislocations significantly.
- Better range of movement. Patients undergoing traditional hip replacement surgery are generally advised to avoid sitting cross-legged for six to eight weeks following their procedure, and are warned that sitting or bending down suddenly or too soon could increase the risk for hip dislocation. Patients undergoing the anterior approach total hip replacement, however, do not have these same restrictions or concerns.
Recovery Expectations for Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery Candidates
The good news for patients who opt for the anterior approach total hip replacement surgery can generally expect a shorter recovery time when compared with their counterparts undergoing other forms of hip surgery.
Patients will walk the same day as surgery and will begin the road to recovery as soon as possible with the help of an expert physical therapist and a recovery plan developed in partnership with the orthopaedic surgeon. Typically, it is advised to take a few weeks off from work following the procedure to allow time to heal, with the total number of weeks being dependent on the occupation.
“I would highly recommend Dr. Hoffman for an anterior hip replacement surgery because he does incredible great work,” said Koci. “I haven’t felt this good in years.”