The Anterior Approach and Computer-Assisted Navigation
Total Hip Replacements (THRs) are one of the most successful orthopedic surgeries performed today. THRs have a 90% success rate, and the majority of THRs are entirely free of complications. While a THR can vastly improve the lives of people with problems including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis (AVN), lupus, developmental hip dysplasia, Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, chronic pain, and more, it should still only be resorted to when other non-surgical treatment options have failed.
Each patient recovering from a THR has a unique post-op experience, but many patients will recover without any significant complications and will see their quality of life and mobility improve dramatically after recovery.
“It’s been 15 months since my two total hip replacements, and my life has improved tremendously,” said Carl Savino, age 52. “I no longer take painkillers. I’m able to do more things. I play golf. I walk more. I recently started horseback riding. And the best thing is, I’m pain-free.”
The hip is a ball and socket joint – the “ball” is the femoral head, and the “socket” is the acetabulum. The ends of these bones are covered in cartilage to reduce friction and allow for a normal range of motion. However, when the cartilage breaks down due to injury, disease, or age, it results in limited mobility and chronic pain that can sometimes only be successfully mitigated with surgery.
How this Technique Works
Dr. Miller is one of the foremost THR surgeons and was the first to bring the Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement combined with Computer-Assisted Navigation to Virginia. The Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement involves a small incision on the front of the hip – instead of the back as with a Posterior Approach – that doesn’t cut through any muscles or tendons to get to the hip joint. It is a muscle-sparing procedure that leaves behind less painful scarring, doesn’t violate any of the muscles we use to walk, and makes for a faster surgery and a less painful recovery. Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacements are minimally invasive and allows for greater stability and longer wear for the patient and the hip replacement. This approach also dramatically lowers the risk of hip dislocation after surgery.
Dr. Miller is also a pioneer of using Computer-Assisted Navigation technology in THRs in Virginia. This technique uses special tracking devices that are connected to cameras that are then connected to a computer that guides the surgeon to the implant location within millimeters to make sure the new joint has optimal stability and range of motion. Dr. Miller uses the Stryker Navigation System to ensure that every surgery is as precise and exact as possible. Because the imaging is so clear and precise, the Stryker Navigation System allows surgeons to better cater each hip replacement surgery to the specific patient’s anatomy so that they can have the greatest range of motion and the least pain possible. Dr. Miller has even worked with engineers to help perfect the technique and wants it to be available to all patients. If you’d like to see if a THR is right for you, call Dr. Miller’s office today to set up an appointment or to learn more.