HOUSTON (November 20, 2012)

Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and Memorial Hermann The Woodlands The Medical Center are improving the surgery experience for some patients by offering a new and improved total hip replacement surgery that speeds recovery time and reduces post-operative pain.

The "direct anterior" approach to total hip replacement involves making an incision on the front of the hip rather than the side or back as traditionally done. As a result, surgeons can follow the natural spaces between the hip joint's muscles and tendons, resulting in less damage to the soft tissues.

"The main advantage of this approach is a faster recovery due to the fact that it is not necessary to detach any muscle," said Stefan Kreuzer, M.D., a surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center. "Added benefits include no need for dislocation precautions, immediate weight bearing and a more accurate restoration of leg lengths."

"I am a busy lady and I didn't have three months to sit around and recover from hip surgery," said Nancy Snell, a 68-year-old Grimes County resident who had direct anterior hip replacement surgery earlier this year at Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. "Following my surgery, I was impressed with how quickly I was able to return to my daily routine. Within three weeks I was close to running around like my normal self."

The direct anterior approach accelerates rehabilitation because the hip is replaced without detachment of muscle from the pelvis or femur. Additionally, because the gluteal muscles are left undisturbed, it is possible for patients to regain mobility more quickly and ultimately go home from the hospital sooner. In fact, the normal post-operative restriction on patients to limit hip movement to 60 or 90 degrees does not apply to patients who have undergone the direct anterior approach. This approach allows patients to immediately bend their hip freely and bear full weight when comfortable, resulting in a more rapid return to normal function.

Additional advantages of the anterior hip replacement include:

"Most patients who are considering hip replacement surgery are candidates for an anterior approach," said James Mathis, MD, a surgeon affiliated with Memorial Hermann The Woodlands Medical Center. "The technological advances of specialized instruments and the operating table enable the surgery to be performed safely and efficiently."