Path Surgical Technique In Hip Replacement Provides Shorter And Less Painful Recovery
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 234,000 total hip replacements are performed in the U.S. each year; a number that has increased dramatically in the last decade. The rise in the number of hip replacements in the U.S. can be attributed to several factors, including aging baby boomers; unwillingness of patients to suffer with hip pain; but also significant advancements in hip replacement technology.
Typical hip replacement surgery requires six weeks to three months for patients to fully recover from what has been, historically, a more traumatic surgical procedure. However, patients treated by Michael Neel, M.D., of orthomemphis p.c., are experiencing much shorter recovery times from a total hip replacement thanks to advances in implant technology combined with an innovative surgical technique developed by Wright Medical called the PATH® Tissue-Preserving Technique.
“This fast recovery from hip replacement surgery is truly ground-breaking and is changing the way doctors, and patients, think of hip replacement,” said Dr. Neel. “Many of my patients have been surprised at how much faster they are able to get on their feet with the PATH® Technique considering this is a surgical procedure with a traditionally lengthy recovery.”
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common reason for hip replacement surgery. Joints in the human body are covered with a protective layer of cartilage, which acts as a natural shock absorber or cushion. OA causes the cartilage to wear away causing the painful condition of bone rubbing on bone. According to the Arthritis Foundation, an estimated 21 million people are affected by OA.
While total hip replacements are usually performed to treat arthritic conditions, such as OA, the procedure may sometimes be recommended in the case of hip fracture or avascular necrosis, a condition in which the bone of the ball portion of the hip dies.
These hip conditions are often treated first with medications and lifestyle changes. However, when these treatments fail, and hip pain begins to affect a patient’s ability to perform simple everyday tasks such as getting in and out of a chair, tying shoes or walking, Dr. Neel believes it may be time to consider hip replacement surgery.
“By replacing the diseased hip joint with an artificial joint many patients are able to regain mobility and dramatically improve quality of life by returning to a much higher level of physical ability and activity,” said Dr. Neel.
He has found that most patients believe minimally-invasive hip surgery only pertains to the smaller length of incision that a surgeon is able to operate within, which Dr. Neel explained is only partly true.
“What goes on underneath the small incision is actually more important than the incision size when it comes to recovery,” said Dr. Neel. “The PATH® Technique allows me to perform hip replacement surgery in such a way as to preserve vital muscle and tendon groups that typical hip replacement procedures damage. As a result, my patients enjoy a shorter and less painful recovery.”
Although Wright’s PATH® Technique does offer a smaller incision (2.5-3.5 inches as compared to 8-10 inches required for traditional hip replacement), the PATH® Technique is truly minimally-invasive because it preserves all the short external rotators and muscles that allow the hip to function.
This minimally-invasive technique avoids cutting into the hip tendons and muscles as much as possible, and by doing so, preserves the function and stability of the hip joint. For the patient, this means that there is less pain and bleeding than with the traditional technique. The PATH® Technique is designed to help patients get back to a more normal life quicker.
Dr. Neel said the PATH® Technique gets his patients through the immediate post-op period much faster. In fact, many of his patients have been able to walk with assistance just hours after undergoing their hip replacement surgery.
“I have one patient who has had both his hips replaced,” explained Dr. Neel. “The first one was done using traditional surgical techniques. This patient said to me after I replaced his second hip using the PATH® Technique that it made a huge difference. This is a technique that truly does get my patients back on their feet faster, with less pain.”
The PATH® Technique was developed by Arlington, Tenn., based Wright Medical Technology, Inc. For more information, visit www.hips4fastrecovery.com.
Michael D. Neel, M.D. – Michael D. Neel, M.D., received his medical degree at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine. Dr. Neel followed his training with a fellowship in Orthopaedic Oncology at the University of Florida. He specializes in musculoskeletal oncology and total joint replacement of the hip and knee, as well as dedicating himself to pediatric orthopaedic oncology at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Dr. Neel is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, in the Musculoskeletal Tumor Society, and the International Society of Limb Salvage Surgeons