Our hips are among the strongest and most durable joints in the human body. We depend on our hips every day, as they are essential to common tasks, such as tying shoes, getting out of a chair, walking or taking the stairs.
Despite their durability, they are not invincible. Injury and arthritis can damage hips, causing pain, stiffness and disability. And when these important joints aren't working properly, people may find simple daily activities are incredibly difficult.
Hip pain may respond to a number of treatments. Medication, weight loss, physical therapy and low impact exercise are possible options, depending on the specific diagnosis or cause.
When the problem is severe, your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery.
An Effective Intervention
Total hip replacement is one of the "most successful operations in all of medicine," according The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. The procedure was first performed in 1960, and since then, advancements in surgical techniques and technology have only enhanced the procedure's effectiveness. An increasing number of people are turning to hip replacement to find relief, as more than 285,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
A Muscle-Sparing Approach
While effective, traditional (lateral or posterior) hip replacement requires a larger incision of 10-12 inches, and the surgeon must detach muscle tissue during the procedure. Recovery can be a gradual process, and most patients typically must limit hip motion for six weeks to two months following surgery.
The anterior hip replacement is a relatively new, "tissue-sparing" approach that has gained momentum over the past decade. With the anterior approach, the surgeon reaches the joint from the front of the hip, rather than the side or back. By doing so, the surgeon does not have to cut through muscle tissue and operates through a much smaller incision of 4-5 inches (less than half of the traditional approach).
Potential benefits of anterior hip replacement include:
• shorter recovery time
• less muscle damage
• less scarring
• fewer restrictions during recovery
"Since leg muscles are not cut during this surgery, many patients are experiencing joint stability soon after surgery. While every patient is different, some patients are moving, bending and bearing weight on their hips immediately after anterior hip replacement," said Dr. Jonathan Swindle, a Monroe Clinic orthopaedic surgeon. "However, as with any surgery, the key to successful outcome goes beyond surgery and continues with educated and thorough rehabilitation practices."
Looking to learn more about joint pain?
Attend one of Monroe Clinic's free seminars, "The Good News About Joint Pain." For dates and registration, visit the "Events" section at monroeclinic.org.
Both Dr. Swindle and fellow Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Lance Sathoff are very familiar with the anterior hip replacement. For a consultation, call 608-324-2453.