DENVER — A new hip replacement procedure is gaining popularity and only a handful of hospitals in the U.S. offer the surgery -- and Swedish Medical Center in Denver happens to be one of them.
The procedure is called PATH, which stands for Portal Assisted Total and Hip, and takes a standard hip replacement with an easier recovery, according Dr. Joseph Assini, joint program medical director at Swedish.
In the traditional hip replacement surgeries doctors go in through the front of the hip and use an interval between two muscles to access the hip joint, but that can cause nerve issues and problems with healing.
“When we do a bikini incision that's what this new procedure really is,” said Dr. Assini. “Moving the incision to a slightly better position can get around those problems and allows it to heal in a better way.”
Lori Myer, one of his patients, came to Dr. Assini because of her arthritis. “He did my surgery in August and my scar is tiny, tiny it's like a pencil line,” Myer said.
Experts said in most cases patients are up and walking after the spinal anesthetic has worn off which normally takes about two hours after the surgery.
“I was up and about walking that day and back to normal in about three months,” said Myer. “It was a little struggle and I had to lean on something for a little while and it took a little time, but I didn't take any pain medication and I was fine."
Dr. Assini said the biggest thing that doctors notice is that the patient's scars heal in a quicker way because of the incision is in line with the creases of the skin and that promotes healing.
He added that a total hip replacement is common, but this is a different way to perform the procedure with benefits for both the doctor and the patient.
“That means fast and less healing time, less nervous injury, quicker operating time and hopefully up and out of the hospital a bit sooner and rehabbing in a much more reproductive way,” said Dr. Assini.
Myer, the patient, said she had to do about five weeks of physical therapy but within months, she felt 100 percent.
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