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Hip Replacement Goes Back To The Future

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Christa Dean Hild 
850-747-6542

Panama City, Forida  In the 1950's surgeons used what is called the Smith-Peterson approach for hip replacement. It provided a great view of the hip but surgeons had to cut through muscle which meant a long recovery time. Recently the anterior hip procedure was improved and one local orthopedic surgeon is happy to see its revival.
A back to the future approach to hip surgery has patients going home a lot faster.

The modified Smith-Peterson allows surgeons to reach the joint from the front of the hip as opposed to the side or back. Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Michael McCormick says "It's done through a little incision right by the hip in the front --keeps from having the incision in the back where you have to sit on it. But the biggest thing about it -- it avoids cutting any tendons, any muscles, any nerves so recovery is dramatic."

Surgeons also have a new tool to help get the thigh in line which helps reduce the risk of dislocation after surgery. It's called a Hannah table.  Dr. McCormick describes it as "a specially designed fracture table with special instruments applied to it. It allows you to move the leg around like you need to. Allows you to put traction on the leg and to put it in positions where we can get to the cup side. But it also has a special elevator that when we go to do the thigh bone it allows us to elevate the thigh bone--something we've lacked in the past."

One of the biggest fears for patients is how long they'll be laid up. Dr. McCormick says "a lot of them don't require therapy. Some do, everyone is different, but a lot of them can just go and that's what we like.. It's really rewarding for me to see a patient a day after surgery to walk out of here no crutches, no walker.. It's just amazing."  Dr. McCormick adds for the surgeon it's a little more difficult than the standard approaches and it takes a little more time.. but it's definitely better for the patient.