Patient Gains Mobility, Freedom After Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement

Originally published Sept. 3, 2014 from FloridaMD

Joan Cozart, a Celebration resident, was at a loss for months after her accident. Her pain left her barely capable of walking and unable to do small things like showering and getting dressed without the aid of her husband.

What if that pain never went away? Cozart had a very real fear of just that, having to live the rest of her days in discomfort.

She was referred by a friend to visit Eric G. Bonenberger, M.D., a board certified and fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon specializing in joint replacement at Orlando Orthopaedic Center.

Immediately upon meeting Dr. Bonenberger she was a fan of his and she knew he would be able to help her regain her mobility. After trying the conservative nonsurgical measures to treat the pain, he informed her the next step was an anterior approach total hip replacement.

“I was a 50-year-old woman feeling like I was 80-years-old,” she says. “[Since surgery], there’s been an amazing effect on my life. In a lot of ways I’d say I got back the life I had before I had surgery.”

What Makes the Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement Special?

The biggest benefits to patients who undergo the anterior approach total hip replacement are a result of the procedure’s tissue-sparing techniques when compared to traditional approach hip replacement procedures.

Benefits of the anterior approach total hip replacement for patients include:

  • Less pain
  • Faster recovery
  • Minimal movement restrictions following surgery
  • Increased mobility
  • Reduced scarring

“Keeping the muscles intact can also help prevent joint dislocations,” explains Dr. Bonenberger. “The surgery can be completed faster than traditional hip replacement surgery as well, which helps reduce the risk of infection in the operating room.”

Eric G. Bonenberger, M.D.

Eric G. Bonenberger, M.D.

What is the key to the increased benefits of the anterior approach? Dr. Bonenberger explains it’s the approach itself that helps provide increased benefits for patient and surgeon alike.

“The surgery is done by making a single, small incision on the anterior, or front, a portion of the hip instead of at the back or on the side,” he explains. “This alleviates much of the pain typically associated with the procedure because the muscles and tendons are gently spread to the side (tissue-sparing).”

During surgery, Dr. Bonenberger says the hip is exposed in such a way that neither the muscles nor the tendons are detached from the bone, which helps reduce pain and speed recovery time.

“We enter the body much closer to the hip joint, thus displacing less tissue between the skin and the hip bone,” he explains. “Using a computerized preoperative digital template along with intraoperative radiographs helps ensure the hip is well balanced, stable and that the implants are aligned with precision.”

Joan is appreciative for the results of her surgery.  “It’s the small things, like, literally being able to put on socks, shave my legs or wash my feet in the shower. On top of that, I have a six-year-old grandson who danced around me the first time he saw me after my surgery, and I could walk normally” she says.

Luckily for patients, more than 90 percent of Dr. Bonenberger’s hip replacement patients are candidates for this minimally invasive procedure.

Recovering from an Anterior Approach Hip Replacement

Physical rehabilitation following the anterior approach hip surgery spans several weeks.

Joan Cozart says she got her life back following her anterior approach total hip replacement at Orlando Orthopaedic Center.

Joan Cozart says she got her life back following her anterior approach total hip replacement at Orlando Orthopaedic Center.

“Patients can get up and are walking later in the day following surgery,” says Dr. Bonenberger. “Most patients progress to a cane in as little as one to two weeks.”

Many patients are walking independently in two to three weeks and can perform normal activities shortly after that.

As for Cozart, she has completed her rehabilitation and couldn’t be happier with the results following her anterior approach hip replacement at Orlando Orthopaedic Center.

She says, “Hands down, Dr. Bonenberger is my first referral if it’s a hip, but anyone else I would feel comfortable recommending Orlando Orthopaedic Center for their needs.”