Anterior Approach at Morton Plant Hospital by Dr. Andrew Cooper Updated 11/7/2012 New Hip Replacement Approach Puts Patients Back in Action Faster
July 02, 2012
If you ask Dr. Andrew Cooper of Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater, any hip replacement performed properly on a suitable candidate will be successful. But a newer anterior approach which the orthopedic surgeon and hip and knee replacement specialist offers exclusively through the hospital may get that patient to success a little quicker.
“The hip replacement is probably one of the best procedures that has ever been invented in terms of improving quality of life,” he says. “The most common hip replacement, the standard posterior approach, requires an incision which must disrupt certain muscle tissue to do the hip replacement, and this can sometimes translate into a slower recovery and the potential for dislocation. With the anterior approach, less disruption to the muscles can mean quicker recovery, less pain and a lowered rate of dislocation. The anterior approach is just an improvement on an already very successful procedure.”
For Ann Elias of Clearwater, one of the joys of living in the Bay area is taking advantage of its great weather for one of her favorite pastimes: tennis. But last spring, while on the courts, her participation in an activity she had long enjoyed was in peril.
“I went for a wide shot and experienced tremendous pain in my right hip. I thought I had just pulled something and it was nothing serious, but it never went away,” she says. After undergoing X-rays, Elias soon learned that she needed a hip replacement.
Still in disbelief, Elias says she put off the procedure until finally contacting a reputable Tampa specialist where she was scheduled to undergo surgery. But after more reflection, she realized she just didn’t feel confident about the procedure or physician and cancelled the appointment. An acquaintance told her about her own recent anterior hip replacement performed at Morton Plant Hospital by Dr. Cooper, which piqued Elias’ interest to learn more.
“My husband and I met him and were totally impressed. We came home and discussed it, called Dr. Cooper and told him we want you to do it.’ And it was the best decision I ever made,” she says.
During the anterior approach hip replacement, a patient is positioned on his or her back instead of on the side as is the case with traditional procedures. The approach provides the surgeon greater access and accuracy in assessing pelvic position as well as placing and fitting components properly, all while employing a small 4- or 5-inch incision instead of one usually double in size.
Last September, Elias underwent the anterior hip replacement with Dr. Cooper at Morton Plant Hospital. After having the procedure first thing in the morning, she was walking the halls by noon.
“What surprised me most was that I didn’t have any pain,” she says and notes that she was able to bypass traditional pain meds, simply taking Tylenol during her recovery. She used a walker at home for a few days until she felt secure enough to walk on her own, and after returning home on a Wednesday afternoon, she was out dining with her husband by Friday night.
Dr. Cooper says the anterior approach can be especially beneficial for those who still work and need to be back on their feet quickly because of its short recovery time. This varies but most anterior hip replacement patients are typically off of ambulatory assist devices within 2-3 weeks compared to 3-6 weeks for the standard approach. He also says quality of gait can be noticeably improved more quickly with anterior hip replacement patients, who appear to lose any signs of a limp by as soon as 2-3 weeks.
Having performed the anterior approach procedure at Morton Plant Hospital for a little over a year with nearly 70 procedures completed during this time, Dr. Cooper says that the hospital’s decision to invest in a specialized surgical table that allows for the anterior approach orthopedic procedure has been a critical factor in Dr. Cooper performing the procedure. The specialized anterior approach table enables the surgeon to safely position the patient in a much more extensive manner than conventional surgical tables, allowing for improved hyperextension, adduction and external rotation of the outer leg and hip.
“The reason that this surgery has not been widely adopted is that one part of the hip replacement is very difficult without certain technological advances, such as the special table which fortunately Morton Plant Hospital has provided for me to use for this surgery that makes it safe,” he says. “The technical challenges of this hip replacement are greatly minimized by the use of the hana® table and probably one of the major reasons I haven’t had any problems.”
Elias says she now walks long distances with ease and found herself back on the tennis court within a few months of her procedure. She has since learned she needs her left hip replaced and says that when she’s ready she will be back at Morton Plant Hospital.
“I’d rather not have any surgery, but if you need to have it, then I can’t think of a better place or a better surgeon to do it than Dr. Cooper. He is so knowledgeable, and his personality and staff are great,” she says. “He took great care of me.”
To learn more about Morton Plant Hospital’s anterior approach to hip replacement, contact them at 727-953-6909 or visit www.mpmhealth.com.Dr. Andrew Cooper
Anterior approach – 70 surgeries to date
MPM Specialists LLC
430 Morton Plant St Ste 301
Clearwater, FL 33756