Some 120,000 people will have a hip replaced this year. That’s 10,000 people a month who are suffering with a pain so bad it hurts when they walk, or even move their joints.
Now, there is a new technique for replacing the hip that is getting people up and moving faster than ever before.
"My right hip started aching and it wouldn’t go away," said Karen McKinzie, an osteoarthritis patient.
The pain became so intense for 61-year-old Karen McKinzie, even her 85-year-old mother could walk faster than she could.
"It made me feel old and tired," said McKinzie, who lived with the pain for years.
Finally, with McKinzie diagnosed with osteoarthritis, her doctor suggested a new type of hip replacement. It’s called anterior hip replacement. Traditionally, surgeons removed the arthritic hip by cutting into the side or back of the hip.
"The disadvantage in that is that tendons and muscles have to be cut in order to access the hip joint; that leads to more pain and also it leads to a risk of the hip dislocating after surgery," said Dr. Steven Sanders, an orthopedic surgeon at Baylor Health Care System.
Now, surgeons approach the hip from the front side without cutting any muscles or tendons, reducing recovery time from six weeks to ten days. A day after her surgery, McKinzie was up walking, even planning her training schedule for her first 5K.
"I feel younger now than I did several years ago," said McKinzie.
Another benefit for this approach, with conventional hip replacement surgery, there are strict precautions after surgery for hip movement, which slows down recovery.
With the anterior approach, patients are allowed to bend their hip freely and can bear full weight almost immediately. This also helps speed up recovery time and helps patients return to normal function faster.