32-year-old Henry County man was the recipient of the first total hip replacement done at Baptist Health La Grange using the anterior approach on March 18. Nathan Townsend of Pendleton suffered a fractured hip joint and pelvis approximately two years ago in an automobile accident. As a result, he developed arthritis, which caused him a lot of pain and made it difficult to walk.
Jeremy Statton, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Baptist Northeast Orthopedics, performed the landmark surgery. With the help of a specialized operating table, the Hana® table, Dr. Statton is able to do the surgery with a single, smaller incision through the front (anterior) of the hip rather than the rear (posterior) as is the traditional approach to hip replacement. This allows the surgeon to operate while leaving the muscles intact so that the joint has more stability, reducing the chance of hip dislocation, which is one of the risks of hip replacement surgery.
“I decided to do anterior total hip replacement because it is easier for people to recover from,” said Dr. Statton. “By going through the front instead of the back, it is easier on muscles and patients tend to have less pain and can be active quicker.”
Anterior hip replacement is suitable for most patients, but may not be advisable for those who are very overweight, who have had a previous procedure through the rear of the hip or who have unique problems due to issues in the posterior portion of the hip.
According to Dr. Statton, another advantage of the anterior approach is an easier, shorter recovery.
“When using a posterior approach, the typical patient will stay in the hospital for three nights and about half of those patients end up going to rehab,” he said. “Some anterior approach patients may go home after one or two nights and fewer need long-term rehab. The main difference is that there is less pain and it is easier to walk right away. Also, there are no precautions taken due to concerns about dislocation.”
Whether you attribute it to the baby boomers who are staying more active as they age or to better diagnostic techniques, hip replacement surgeries have been on the rise – increasing from 117,000 performed in the U.S. in 1991 to 239,000 in 2004 (the last year for which statistics are available). While anterior hip replacement has been in use for a decade, Dr. Statton is one of only a handful of orthopedic surgeons in the Metro Louisville area who performs the procedure.