It’s Not Hip to be in Pain
Seventy million Americans are affected by arthritis with more than 20 million affected by osteoarthritis (OA) making it the most prevalent form of arthritis and the number one cause of disability in the U.S. This medical condition develops when cartilage deteriorates and friction is caused between joint surfaces. Many people live with chronic pain associated with OA. For these people, everyday activities such as walking, driving, lifting, standing, and exercising–even lying down to sleep and rest–become extremely painful. However, new technology now offers hope to these individuals.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, moderate to severe osteoarthritis is the most common indication for total hip arthroplasty. Osteoarthritis affects three times as many women as men and while it most often occurs in people ages 50 and over, younger adults who have been injured playing sports or in accidents can begin experiencing symptoms in their late 30s and early 40s.
If you have tried physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and cortisone shots, but are still experiencing chronic hip pain you may be ready for minimally invasive total hip replacement surgery. Nearly 200,000 Americans will become candidates for hip replacement this year and that number is expected to grow rapidly as the baby boomers age.
Minimally invasive, computerassisted hip replacement surgery, also referred to as the anterior approach, is a procedure that allows the surgeon to reach the hip joint from the front of the hip with a smaller incision so less soft muscle tissue is disturbed. Therefore, the patient recovers faster with less pain than traditional hip replacement surgery.
According to Dr. Jones, “The new procedure provides accuracy to within a millimeter and gives us better control when positioning the cup into the hip. It is far less invasive so recovery is considerably faster since there are no severed muscles required to heal. The average hospital stay for our patients is two to three days versus three to ten days for patients who have the traditional hip surgery. Smaller incisions mean patients have better outcomes.”
During the procedure, the patient is placed on a surgical table exclusively designed for hip arthroplasty that allows the surgeon to precisely position the patient to minimize trauma under the skin. The table makes it easier for the surgeon to replace the hip through a single incision, without detachment of muscle from the pelvis or femur. The most important muscles for hip function, the gluteal muscles attach to the pelvis and femur, and are left undisturbed. The patient’s leg is extended downward to allow frontal access to the hip to also help reduce tissue damage. The table also allows for convenient x-ray imaging during surgery to ensure precise implant placement.
Once the patient is out of recovery and back in their room, they are typically up walking within hours with the use of a walker. Later that same day, some patients can sit in a chair comfortably. Six weeks following surgery, many patients are painfree and able to do activities they couldn’t do before surgery.
Full recovery can take several months before regaining normal joint function, which requires patience. Dr. Jones will answer any questions you may have about your pre-op treatment, surgery and post-op care.
Most patients are able to return to their daily activities and play most sports. However, high impact sports should be avoided. Talk with your surgeon about what sports are appropriate for you.
The results speak for themselves just ask Dr. Jones’ patients. “The majority of our patients tell me they wish they would have had their hip surgery sooner because it has given them their lives back,” says Dr. Jones.