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Anterior Hip Replacement Speeds Recovery, Lessens Pain And Scarring

Your Health Journal

By Len Saunders – Health, Fitness, Nutrition, And Wellness

Dec. 5, 2013

Orthopaedic specialist Dr. Joel Buchalter with Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, offers tips about the benefits of anterior hip replacement with the Hana table.

Living with constant hip pain can literally drag you down, causing once-active people to live more sedentary lives. But anterior hip replacement surgery, a minimally invasive option typically performed on a unique device known as a Hana orthopedic table, has made this form of hip replacement more appealing to a wide range of patients of all ages, according to Joel Buchalter, MD, a founding partner of Somers Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine Group, PLLC.

Somers Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine Group is proud to offer its patients anterior hip replacement surgery using a Hana table, whose innovative positioning abilities allow surgeons to access the hip socket from the front of the body, known as the anterior approach. Conventional hip replacement surgery accesses the hip from the back or side, but the anterior method avoids cutting through muscle, leading to a much quicker recovery.

With about 250,000 hip replacements performed each year in the United States – a number that has increased about one-third since 2000 – the introduction of the Hana table in the mid-2000s has been good news to candidates for anterior hip replacement surgery, Dr. Buchalter says. Osteoarthritis and hip trauma are the two top reasons to seek hip replacement surgery, which has become more appealing to people at midlife who want to remain active as they grow older.

“Using the Hana table has allowed us to install new hips with less damage, which has lowered patients’ average hospital stay to between two and three days and cuts overall recovery time in half,” explains Dr. Buchalter, a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon. “Within a couple of weeks after surgery, many of them are walking without any assistance and they’re quickly returning to their busy lives with renewed vigor.”

Much smaller incisions

The Hana table is an infinitely adjustable positioning device with a sterile robotic attachment that lifts the patient’s femur, helping the surgeon access the joint and achieve excellent alignment of the implant without cutting or detaching any muscle tissue. Conventional hip replacement requires incisions at least six inches long – up to 12 inches for obese patients – and cuts or detaches several muscles to install the new joint.

But with anterior hip replacement, incisions are typically only four inches long regardless of patient size. Using this technique, patients who need both hip joints replaced may have both done during the same operation, allowing for a single hospital stay and a single rehabilitation period.

Other advantages for patients of undergoing anterior hip replacement using the Hana table include:

* Lower blood loss

* Smaller and less prominent scarring

* Less painful recovery

* Greater activity level six weeks after surgery, including stair climbing, walking unlimited distances and walking without assistive devices such as canes

“It’s easy to understand,” Dr. Buchalter says. “By causing less trauma to the hip area, the entire process of surgery and recovery is simplified, and this can only mean good things for patients. It’s so gratifying to be able to offer this option and know that we’re providing the most benefits of anterior hip replacement with the fewest possible risks.”

Preparing for hip replacement surgery

Before undergoing hip replacement surgery, patients can make several physical and environmental preparations that will both speed their recovery and make the period easier, Dr. Buchalter says. These measures include:

* Ask your doctor for pre-surgical exercises to strengthen your upper body to help you cope with crutches or a walker after surgery. It’s also a good idea to familiarize yourself with exercises that will be prescribed after the operation.

* Borrow a walker or a pair of crutches to practice maneuvering through your home. This will help clue you in to furniture that needs rearranging.

* Remove any throw or area rugs that could cause you to slip after surgery.

* Consider adding a shower chair, grab bar or raised toilet seat to your bathroom.

* Set up a “recovery center” in your home where you will spend much of your time that includes a phone, TV remote control, tissues, reading materials and medications within easy reach.

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