New Procedure, Faster Recovery

Originally published in Central Florida Health Alliance’s Discover Health, Summer 2010 •

Having undergone anterior surgery to replace her right hip, Diane Washburn quickly returned to the activities she loves, including growing orchids and traveling.

When Diane Washburn, of Lake County, had anterior hip replacement surgery on her right hip in December, she was home four days later. That was much different from 2005, when she spent a week in the hospital and another two weeks in a rehabilitation facility following surgery on her left hip.

An avid orchid grower, Washburn was anxious to return to her garden. By early January, she no longer needed a walker and used a cane only when she was in a crowd. When spring arrived, she and her husband, Ralph, were on an airplane feeding their passion for travel.

“I’m back 100 percent,” says the 72-year-old Leesburg resident. “There’s not much I can’t do now—I can even pull weeds once in a while!” Her orthopedic surgeon, Carl Ollivierre, MD, spearheaded the first anterior approach surgery for hip replacement last year at Leesburg Regional Medical Center.

A Different Approach

In the anterior approach, surgeons make an incision between the muscles at the front of the hip. Patients lie on their backs on a specialized table, which enables surgeons to work between muscles and tissues when replacing the joint.

“In the past, patients were placed on their sides, and muscles were cut,” explains Dr. Ollivierre. “The anterior approach preserves muscle integrity, which makes recovery time much faster.”

Dr. Ollivierre says that 90 to 95 percent of patients who need hip replacement are good candidates for the anterior approach if it’s their first surgery on the affected hip.

Washburn believes she delayed having the second surgery longer than she should have, but it paid off in this case. “I’m glad I waited five years so that I could have this newer procedure,” she says. “I bounced back twice as fast, maybe even three times faster.”

GET BACK TO THE LIFE YOU LOVE! If a painful knee or sore hip is keeping you from the activities you enjoy, total joint replacement at the Alliance Bone & Joint Center may be right for you. To find a joint replacement surgeon, call the Alliance Health Line at 352-323-1000.