Unique hip surgery has fans
The anterior approach hip replacement is an alternative technique some doctors argue is better than common methods to replace hips. The anterior approach hip replacement also requires special surgical training.
Surgeons have traditionally replaced hips by entering the joint from the side or back, called a posterior or lateral approach. With the anterior approach hip replacement, patients lie on their backs, and some surgeons use a unique operating table, called the Hana table, that has ski-boot-looking extensions to position the leg.
Doctors start by making a 3- to 4-inch off-center incision in the front of the hip. The traditional approach to hip replacement requires doctors to cut or detach muscles and tendons to reach the joint. The anterior approach allows surgeons to work between muscles and tendons. When the surgeon reaches the damaged joint it is removed and a prosthetic plastic or metal hip is put in place.
Dr. Eric Grossman, co-director of joint-replacement surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital has been performing anterior approach hip replacement since 2009.
He said it makes a big difference if the muscles that hold the hip in place aren't disturbed. "That's the major advantage in terms of the recovery and the patient's ability to be more active quicker," said Grossman, who operates without the special table.
There is also a lower risk of hip dislocation, and patients don't have the same restrictions that come with common replacement methods.
For about six weeks, patients of common hip replacement techniques have to sleep with a pillow between their knees and can't cross their legs or bend more than 90 degrees at the waist doctors said.
Jill Maynard, a patient of Dr. Grossman, had her right hip replaced in January 2010 with the anterior approach hip replacement.
"I was surprised by how mobile I was from day one," said the 59-year-old from Peekskill. "It seemed that my recuperation was so fast and so pain-free. I was very amazed."
She now does yoga and works out without any problems.
William Meyer, another patient of Dr. Grossman, suffered from arthritis for 10 years before recently having both hips replaced. He went home from the hospital with tools to help him get dressed, put on shoes, and reach for things but needed none of them.
"I was able to take care of myself almost immediately," said the 62-year-old from Bedford, noting he now has no trouble walking the steep hill near his home.
Since the introduction of the special Hana operating table in 2003, the number of surgeons trained in anterior approach hip replacement has jumped from a few dozen to an estimated 800 a year.
To learn more about anterior approach hip replacement or request an appointment with Dr. Grossman call us at 914.666.1499. Learn about other hip replacement procedures on our hip replacement page.
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