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Anterior Approach Hip Replacement Surgery with Advantage of New Specialized Operating Room Table

Posted May 8, 2010

May 6, 2010, Abington, PA – Abington Memorial Hospital orthopaedists are now offering a revolutionary improvement in hip replacement surgery that is available at few hospitals in the U.S.

Until now, the anterior approach (or frontal approach) was being offered only to a modest number of patients who fell below a certain weight level; but with the arrival of new technology in the operating room, the Hana® Hip and Knee Arthoplasty Table, every patient can take advantage of this innovative approach.

The purpose of this specially-designed table is to aid orthopaedists using the anterior approach for hip replacement surgery as it enables the surgeon to replace the hip while the patient is lying on his or her back. With this approach, the hip can be replaced with a small incision and without detaching muscle from the femur or the pelvis during surgery.

“Hospitals buy new equipment every day,” says Andrew Star, M.D., chief of Orthopaedic Surgery, Abington Memorial Hospital, “but what makes this newsworthy is the great impact it will have on patients who choose to have this approach for hip replacement surgery.”

The lack of disturbance to the lateral and posterior muscles, ligaments and tendons provides immediate stability of the hip after surgery so there are less post-operative restrictions such as driving a car. The patient’s stay in the hospital could also be shortened with this approach, said Star, and rehabilitation is shortened with many people walking without a cane within a few weeks.

“Patients report dramatically reduced recovery times,” said Star, “down from months to weeks for some patients who undergo this approach. There are also substantially fewer restrictions on these patients after their surgery so they can resume their normal lifestyles more quickly-very important factors to busy people on the go. They can get in their cars, visit friends or relatives and even go to work in days or weeks in many cases.”

According to Star, other reasons for undergoing surgery while lying on the back, with the anterior approach are that it just makes sense. Here’s why:

  • The incision follows the space between the muscles, causing less trauma than cutting through muscle.
  • Patients often experience reduced blood loss, reduced tissue trauma and shorter hospital stays.
  • Faster recovery – as little as two to eight weeks as opposed to two to four months.
  • Reduced risk of dislocation, and more rapid return to normal activities.

The Hana® table allows the patient to be positioned in a way not possible with conventional tables. X-ray guidance is used to determine leg lengths, correct position and proper sizing of the implant.

“At Abington, we have done 200 of these direct anterior procedures using a conventional operating table with good results,” says Star. “Now we are excited to be able to expand this to almost all patients.”