New technique and equipment helps improve recovery after minimally invasive hip replacement surgery

April 01, 2013

The anterior hip approach allows surgeons to perform a hip replacement by using a natural "window" between muscles in the patient’s upper thigh. The table can move to just about any angle making it easier for the orthopedic surgeon to operate on the patient and for the patient to recover from the procedure. The traditional approach to hip surgery was from the back or side, requiring large muscles, such as the gluteus maximus, to be cut and then sutured.

"The main advantage of the anterior approach is preservation of muscle that enables faster rehabilitation. Patients are able to get back to their lives much, much sooner and they don’t require use of an assisted device, like crutches or a walker, for more than a few weeks at the most," said Omar Hadi, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon who regularly schedules hip replacement surgeries at Providence using the Hana table.

Several dozen hip replacement surgeries have been performed using this table so far and some patients say they were able to return home and walk around the house just a couple of days after the surgery.

The benefits of the innovative surgical approach using the Hana table go far beyond the operating room.

"It’s truly like a miracle for me," said Nancy Daniels of Ashland, one of Dr. Hadi’s patients. "Being able to walk again without pain is an incredible experience."

Nancy suffered injuries from a car accident when she was an 18-year-old college student. Now, 42 years later, Nancy is able to enjoy walks with her husband without being afraid of pain.

"I used to worry about just how far I could walk before it just wasn’t enjoyable anymore," she said. "In the past five years the pain just increased with every step. It was to the point where I couldn’t sightsee while traveling. I just couldn’t walk very far without being in such pain. I also could not get down on the floor to play with my grandchildren. I knew I needed to do something."

Nancy’s research into options led her to Dr. Hadi, the anterior hip approach, and the Hana table. Just one day after her hip surgery, Nancy was walking with the use of an assistive device and was able to walk without the device about a week later. She has increased her walking and other activities at a much quicker pace compared to patients who have traditional hip replacement surgery.

"Because there is no disruption of the muscles around the hip with the anterior approach, the patient’s hip is more stable and there is no need for precautions after the surgery," Dr. Hadi explained. "Patients are able to resume lifestyle activities much faster, getting back to a more normal life than they have been able to have in some time."

The Hana table was purchased with funds from the 2011 Festival of Trees and has been in use at Providence for about six months now. Dr. Hadi has performed more than 50 anterior approach hip procedures using this special equipment.