Anterior Hip Replacement a Safer, More Natural Option, According to Leading Orthopedic Surgeons at Arizona Orthopaedic Associates

Phoenix, AZ, September 26, 2012 --( Anterior hip replacements are much safer alternatives to the traditional posterior hip replacements, according to Arizona’s leading group of orthopedic surgeons, Arizona Orthopaedic Associates at Gateway.

The Phoenix orthopedic group introduced the anterior hip approach to Arizona and has completed more than 1,200 such surgeries in recent years. The group’s expertise at the procedure has been featured in The New York Times as well as many other leading publications. With hip replacements in America almost doubling in the last decade, the group believes that the anterior hip replacement approach will become the preferred procedure.

The anterior hip replacement performed by Arizona Orthopaedic Associates utilizes a special $100,000, OSI-Pro-FX, or HANA, table that enables AOA physicians to replace the hip through a single 4- to 5-inch incision, without detaching or cutting muscles. The table allows for a positioning option not possible with conventional tables and intraoperative x-ray ensures precise placement of the hip. The result is reduced pain, less muscle trauma, a lower risk of dislocation and a shorter hospital stay. It can also cut recovery times by up to three months.

Misconceptions still abound regarding the procedure, as well as several myths. Arizona Orthopaedic Associates surgeon Dr. David Ott said this is common with new procedures.

“There’s a learning curve with any new procedure,” Dr. Ott said. “That doesn’t mean the surgery is inherently more dangerous, it just means some doctors are behind the curve.

“In fact, most medical advances occur this way. Often what was once a new innovation and thought to be risky or dangerous because it challenged the traditional technique, is now the standard of care.”

Blood loss
Dr. Ott said the anterior approach rarely requires a transfusion, so much so that AOA surgeons have discontinued recommending patients to donate blood for such surgeries because they found it unnecessary.

The anterior approach helps the Phoenix-based orthopedic surgeons group have patients walking the same day as surgery and returning to full mobility within 2-8 weeks, instead of the typical 2-4 months needed after traditional surgery.

Since no muscle is cut during the replacement procedure, a patient’s recovery time is significantly shorter.

Phoenix resident Mike Hecomovich can attest to the shorter recovery time for the anterior hip replacement. Both of Hecomovich’s hips have been replaced - one using the traditional posterior hip replacement approach and, most recently, with an anterior hip replacement performed by Dr. Ott.

“The difference between the two is night and day,” Hecomovich said. “The new approach is far superior to the old approach. I could have left the day after the anterior procedure. It was that much better.”

Risk of major artery injury
Dr. Ott said still others believe there is an inherent danger in performing an anterior hip replacement; that major blood vessels can be damaged, leading to significant artery injury.

“Some people ask me if blood vessels can be nicked during the procedure,” Dr. Ott said. “That’s completely untrue. The major blood vessels are very distant in the anterior approach. There’s usually less blood loss than a traditional hip replacement. We rarely transfuse our anterior hip patients and have for the most part eliminated self-donation of blood because it hasn’t been needed.

“I know of no one who has had any major blood vessel injuries,” Dr. Ott said. “The femoral arteries are very distant and nowhere near the field of surgery. The femoral nerve is closer during the anterior approach but it’s not nearly as close as the sciatic in the traditional posterior approach.”

Still others have been told by their physicians that the risk of dislocation is as great, if not greater, with the anterior approach. The opposite is actually true.
In fact, the orthopedic surgeons at AOA have experienced lower dislocation rates with the anterior approach. Since no muscles are cut during the procedure, there are fewer muscles to rehabilitate following the procedure.

“The inherent stability of the procedure has removed the need for ‘hip precautions’ after the surgery,” Dr. Ott said. “This means no restriction in your leg position, no limits on bending and no wedge between your legs for six weeks.”

The OSI-Pro-FX, or HANA, table allows AOA surgeons to simply work through the natural interval between the muscles, leaving the most important muscles for hip function undisturbed, providing patients with a faster recovery time.

“When I got out of bed for the first time after the anterior hip replacement, I was shocked at the difference,” said Hecomovich, an avid golfer. “With the posterior hip replacement, I was very tentative on my feet, worried about a dislocation. After the anterior hip replacement, I was chipping and putting golf balls within two weeks.”

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Arizona Orthopaedic Associates
Al Stevens