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Published on January 21, 2008

Anterior Hip Replacements Get Patients Back on Their Feet in Record Time

ABINGTON, PA (January 21, 2008) - As baby boomers age, some are finding the need to undergo hip or knee replacements in order to regain quality of life. However, many boomers are in the prime of their careers and taking extended time away from work to recover from surgery can be a burden. Fortunately, due to demand and advances in technology, new techniques allowing patients a quicker return to normal activities are becoming the norm for many procedures that could only have been done as open surgical procedures as recently as 10 years ago. Unlike generations before them, this active group has many options, one of them a new approach to total hip replacement.

Introduced to the region by Andrew Star, M.D., director of Joint Replacement Surgery at the Human Motion Institute of Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, PA, is a new technique for total hip replacement surgery called the anterior approach. This approach to hip replacement surgery is allowing patients to resume normal activities sooner than traditional hip replacement surgery. With this approach, the patient is lying on his or her side, and the surgeon makes an incision in the front of the hip joint. The anterior approach allows the surgeon to replace the hip without detaching the muscle from the pelvis or femur.

Most patients need only two to three days in the hospital, as compared to three to four days for traditional hip replacement surgery. Return to normal activity with the anterior approach is two to six weeks, far less than the six to 12 weeks needed for traditional hip replacement surgery. With the anterior approach, many patients can return to driving in just two weeks, as opposed to five weeks with traditional hip replacement surgery.

Why is there such a difference in return to normal activity? "The anterior approach creates much less trauma to the muscle," said Star, "whereas in the traditional approach, muscles are cut from the bone. The incision size for the anterior approach is also much smaller--it's four to five inches versus 10 to 12 for traditional hip replacement surgery."

Dr. Star has performed more than 40 anterior hip replacements and is teaching the technique to other orthopaedic surgeons.

According to Dr. Star, "The ideal candidates for this surgery are active patients who maintain a healthy weight."

For more information, please call the Human Motion Institute at (215) 481-8969. Abington Memorial Hospital is an independent, 570-bed, acute care teaching hospital with a medical staff of more than 900 physicians and 5,500 employees. These professionals provide medical care and health services to residents of Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties. A regional provider, Abington Memorial Hospital has the only Level II accredited trauma center in Montgomery County and offers highly specialized services in cardiac care, cancer care, maternal child health and surgery.

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