Do you have hip pain?

Dr. Jason Reiss discusses how anterior total hip replacement has completely revolutionized join replacement.

If you have a painful, arthritic hip, you are not alone. Americans are leading longer and more active lives. As a result, more people are looking for ways to return to activities once thought impossible because of pain. Hip replacement, once reserved only for the elderly, is becoming increasingly more popular for patients young and old. New technology and techniques have paved the way to allow relatively painless and quick recoveries, such as “minimally invasive” surgery in which no muscles are cut. Performing surgery in this way, not only are the incisions themselves small, but the recoveries are often greatly accelerated.

Using the newest “anterior” approach to hip replacement allows Dr. Jason Reiss to work between muscles, instead of through them. This is the only way to perform a “minimally invasive” hip replacement. What was once a relatively risky operation fraught with potential complications, lengthy hospital admissions, months of recovery and activity restriction has now become a routine procedure requiring an overnight hospital stay and a 6-8 week recovery with no precautions. Reiss was the first orthopedic surgeon in our county to utilize this procedure and performs more than 200 anterior total hip replacements each year.

Anterior total hip replacement allows Reiss to reach the hip joint from the front of the hip as opposed to the lateral (side) or the posterior (back). This way, the hip can be replaced without detaching the muscle from the pelvis or femur during surgery. Because no muscles are cut during surgery, there is less blood loss, less pain and lower risks of complications, such as dislocation.

Unlike traditional hip replacement surgery, immediately after an anterior total hip replacement, patients are able to bend their hip freely and bear full weight when comfortable and are instructed to use their hip normally without cumbersome restrictions. Typically, patients are released from the hospital and can safely go home instead of requiring lengthy stays in rehab units or skilled nursing facilities. While home, a therapist often visits the patient to instruct and guide them during their recovery. Return to normal function is routinely achieved by just 6-8 weeks after surgery.

“The anterior total hip replacement has completely revolutionized joint replacement. It is common for patients to tell me ‘My pain is gone!’ just a few hours after the surgery. There is nothing more rewarding to a surgeon than being able to offer that to patients,” Reiss said.