Using a special surgical tool for hip replacements
Steven Myerthall, MD, is a orthopedic surgeon on staff at Banner Del E. Webb Medical Center, Sun City West. His office can be reached by calling 1-877-974-2673.
Question: I understand there is a new hip replacement procedure using a special surgical table. What is it? Is it an option for total hip replacement?
Answer: Hip replacement surgery is recommended for patients suffering from severe hip pain that limits their activities of daily living. There are many surgical techniques that can be utilized in performing total hip replacement surgery. There is a relatively new method, called the “direct anterior approach” that can make this surgery even better with an easier, less painful recovery for the patient.
The direct anterior total hip arthroplasty is the only surgical approach that allows the procedure to be performed without having to cut any of the muscles or tendons that are so critical for hip function. It is the most tissue-preserving approach for total hip arthroplasty.
In order to perform direct anterior hip surgery, patients lie on their back in the supine position and the leg is extended and rotated such that just the portion of the hip to be replaced is exposed without damaging the important hip muscles.
At nonprofit Banner Del E. Webb, we have a specialized orthopedic surgical table called a Pro-FX table. The table permits a more controlled surgery with less tissue damage. Banner Del Webb is the only hospital in the northwest Valley that has this specialized table.
Question. What are some of your patients’ experiences following the procedure?
Answer: My patients have had a whole variety of experiences in the post-operative period, most notably is a rapid recovery, which enables patients in many cases to walk unaided or without a walker within one to two weeks following surgery. Many even return for their first post-operative follow-up visit with a cane or without any assistive devices.
Most patients are discharged two to three days after surgery. Because the anterior approach to hip replacement surgery preserves muscles and tendons, these patients leave the hospital with no post-operative restrictions. They experience less pain and walk without limp in days rather than weeks after surgery. Many of my patients often tell me they are amazed by the rapid length of recovery.
Question. What are the greatest benefits of a direct anterior total hip replacement?
Answer: I believe the greatest benefits of direct anterior hip replacement are:
- Faster recovery in the early post-operative period
- Tissue friendly surgery with minimal muscle damage
- No post-operative restrictions on hip motion
- More precise surgery because of the use of X-ray guidance during surgery leading to less problems with leg length differences