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New method for hip replacement could reduce rehab time

March 21, 2013

Hip replacement surgery can be a big help to many seniors, but the treatment does have its drawbacks. While surgery often reduces pain and discomfort, the recovery period can sometimes be lengthy and challenging. However, a growing number of surgeons are making use of an innovative technique that will not only reduce pain from the procedure, but may also reduce the time spent in short term rehabilitation, The New York Times reports.

The new surgery is known as an anterior hip replacement, and the change is where doctors are making the initial incision. While the cut is made on the side or back of the hip to reach the socket in traditional surgeries, the anterior method goes through the front. The benefit of this slight change is that surgeons no longer have to cut through muscle, which is often what makes recovery so difficult.

"We're seeing more and more data that patients recover quicker, discontinue use of a cane or walker sooner, and have a quicker return to a normal gait," Dr. Joseph T. Moskal, the chief of orthopedic surgery at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute, told the Times.

Reducing the recovery time associated with a hip replacement could have a significant impact on many seniors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 327,000 people have hip replacement surgery each year.