Anterior hip replacement may offer faster recovery


A lot of progress has been made when it comes to hip replacement surgery.  One Texarkana surgeon is taking a different approach to the procedure.

Today, 71 year-old Stephen Fincher enjoys walking, but that wasn’t the case last year, before he had his hip replaced.  “It was pain when I walked, it was like there was something gouging in my hip joint.”

Doug Thompson, MD is an orthopedic surgeon at Collom & Carney Clinic in Texarkana, Texas.  He performed Fincher’s procedure.  “We used to go in through the back with about an eight-inch incision and cut muscles.  With the anterior approach, we go through the front with about a four-inch incision.  We don’t cut muscles we just move them out of the way.” 

Thompson said the anterior approach allows for a quicker recovery, getting patients back on their feet the day of surgery.  “From twenty years ago, spending five days in the hospital, now we’re down to spending one night in the hospital.  And, in some places, some commercial insurances are allowing outpatient surgery on hips.”  Thompson adds that progress has also been made in pain management.  “We also, in the last several years, have developed these long-acting local anesthetics that last for several days.  That way we can minimize how much narcotics we have to give.”

As for Fincher, he says his post-surgery pain was minimal, and he’s enjoying his mobility.  “I don’t have any restrictions about what I do or where I go or anything now.”

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