Body & Mind

This Isn’t your Grandmother’s Hip Replacement Surgery

Joint replacement seems to be more commonplace these days. It also seems to be happening in younger adults now. I happen to be one of those joint replacement patients. 

It’s been well over 7 years since I’ve been told I needed one. I put it off as long as I possibly could, not for fear of the surgery but for the dreaded “down time” and restrictions on running that used to be more commonplace.  My grandmother had hip replacement back when it was something that “older” people needed. Back when you spent days if not a week in the hospital and then used a walker or cane for weeks after that. 

I’m here to tell you my hip replacement was not my grandmother’s hip replacement surgery!

So, what all has changed? Several things, but the biggest thing is a newer surgery which changes where they go into the hip area now compared to “back then”. I had an anterior hip replacement. 

The anterior approach to hip replacement surgery is a relatively new and innovative procedure that has garnered attention for its potential benefits over traditional methods. Unlike the conventional posterior or lateral approaches, which involve accessing the hip joint from the back or side, the anterior approach allows surgeons to work through the front of the hip. This method has a critical advantage: it avoids cutting through major muscle groups.

By sparing these muscles, particularly those responsible for hip function and stability, patients may experience less postoperative pain and a faster recovery period.

One of the most significant benefits of this approach is its potential to minimize muscle damage, thereby facilitating a quicker return to daily activities. Patients undergoing surgery via the anterior approach often report being able to walk unassisted sooner than those who have had traditional hip replacement surgery. Moreover, this technique allows for more precise implant placement due to improved visibility of the hip anatomy during surgery.

Despite these advantages, it’s important for patients to consult with their surgeons about whether this procedure is suitable for them as it requires specific expertise and not all surgical candidates may be appropriate for this approach and not all surgeons are versed in this surgery.

Since moving to Savannah, I started working with Chatham Orthopedic Associates for help with mobility and pain management for my hip, this involved shots, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory meds.  I worked closely with Dr. Ochsner for almost 3 years to manage my pain and continue my activity level and running. Dr. Ochsner recommended (as did previous orthopedic specialist) hip replacement since the day I started with him, so when I finally gave in and asked him for some recommendations, without a second of hesitation he suggested Dr. Deshpande. He mentioned Dr. Deshpande was well versed in hip replacement and was experienced in the new anterior procedure which he thought I might be a great candidate for.

My first consult with Dr. Deshpande surprised me. After he reviewed my records and x-rays and decided I was a perfect candidate for the anterior hip replacement he said it would be same day surgery in their surgical unit. No hospital visit. No overnight stay. And walking at home that day (with the help of a walker). And another big bonus was once home I would be able to go upstairs, where our bedroom was located so there was no need to make arrangements for sleeping on the main floor. 

Once a date was set and all surgical pretesting was completed Chatham Orthopedics sets up preop therapy where there is strength training and stretching exercises to help strengthen and stretch the muscles in that specific area. 

In addition to preop therapy there is a joint replacement class that is mandatory at which you are giving tips and suggestions of things to do before your surgery, while recovering and after. Things to have available, helpful suggestions of things you may want to get to make your recovery easier and even suggested diet items to help your body recover. I can’t stress how helpful all of this was to the overall recovery period. The hip replacement used was the Depuy implant with the ACTIS stem and the Pinnacle Cup.

Another tip, speak to someone who has had this exact procedure done. Other versions of hip replacement are much different, and I was lucky to have a friend who had this procedure, and she was able to share her experience and what to expect and not expect. 

As I am writing this article I am just over 2 weeks post-surgery, I have been off all pain killers since day 3, have been walking without assistance since about day 5 in recovery, able to go up and down steps with no issues, and have been working to strengthen the area again and am able (per my physical therapist) to strive for seven thousand steps a day. This is what the new hip replacement looks like!

Keep in mind, not everyone is the same nor is every surgeon. Do your research, do the work, and take the time to prepare for hip replacement and it will help you and your recovery!

Preparing For Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery: Tips and Considerations – 

It is essential for patients to strengthen their bodies prior to surgery. Engaging in prescribed physical therapy or gentle exercises can enhance muscle strength around the hip, aiding in a quicker recovery. Equally important is organizing post-surgery support for tasks that will initially be challenging, such as driving, cooking, and personal care.

Adjusting one’s home environment is another critical step; ensuring easy accessibility and safety can significantly impact recovery speed and effectiveness. Removing trip hazards, installing handrails in key areas like bathrooms, and ensuring necessary items are within easy reach without bending or stretching can make a considerable difference.

Additionally, discussing pain management strategies with your healthcare team before surgery can help you manage post-operative discomfort more effectively. Understanding these elements thoroughly prepares patients for a successful anterior hip replacement journey.

For more information about Chatham Orthopedics, Dr. Desphpande and/or Dr. Oshsner visit their website –