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Covering New Ground

Mike Galbally is a man on the move.

President of highly regarded Galbally Landscaping in Willow Grove, Mike and his staff serve business and residential clients. Galbally Landscaping even helps keep the extensive grounds of Abington Memorial Hospital beautiful.

Mike Galbally

So, when Mike needed a hip replacement in 2004, he turned to the orthopaedic team he knew was the most qualified: Orthopaedic Surgery Division Chief Andrew M. Star, M.D., and the musculoskeletal program at Abington Memorial Hospital. Dr. Star successfully performed the leading surgical intervention of the time. It involved making a 12-inch incision from the back of the hip to reach the degenerated joint. Most orthopaedic surgeons still perform this "traditional" surgery, which requires cutting muscles from bone. Patients generally need six to 12 weeks of recovery time and intensive rehabilitation to return to full activity.

In 2007, Dr. Star began using a new "anterior" approach to hip replacement. Mike's other hip had been waiting for just such an innovation.

As one of the thousands of younger, more active adults who don't want to slow down, Mike underwent anterior hip replacement last year.

Dr. Star made only a four-inch incision in the front of Mike's hip to access the joint. From this angle, there is no need to detach muscle from the pelvic or femur bones. Together with the smaller incision, this means less post-operative pain and no precautions for patients.

The joint is highly stable when replaced from the front of the hip. This approach can benefit patients of all ages, especially if they are active and maintain a healthy weight.

"The difference is amazing," Mike continues. "My hospital stay was shorter and I was back driving within two weeks. There were no restrictions with the anterior surgery, especially with twisting and bending. That's something you really have to watch with the traditional surgery.

"In three weeks, I was back on the job." Galbally Landscaping barely had time to miss him.

Dr. Star has performed more than 80 of these new anterior procedures since introducing the procedure about one year ago. Not satisfied just to break new ground, he is actively teaching the technique to other orthopaedic surgeons in the area.

Mike adds, "Everyone we dealt with at Abington was great. The musculoskeletal team kept me moving forward. I feel terrific. And my golf game isn't bad, either."

Eighteen holes at a time, of course.

For more information about the Orthopaedic and Spine Institute, call 215-481-BONE.

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