Specialized Equipment Speeds Recovery for Hip Replacement Patients

October 10, 2012

Walter Kirchoff of Chesterfield Township enjoys kayaking on the lake near his home as well as golfing, gardening and helping family members with home improvement projects.

Even though Walter, 56, had total hip replacement surgery in June, he hardly skipped a beat with any of his favorite activities. He was back to gardening two weeks after surgery and golfing and kayaking shortly after that. It's all thanks to a new kind of operating room table available to surgeons to use for that type of procedure.

Hip replacement surgery normally involves cutting through muscle. A new surgical table - called a hip and knee arthroplasty table, or HANA - allows the surgeon to reposition the patient for better access to that large joint.

Henry Ford Macomb orthopedic surgeon Richard Perry, MD, has experience using the HANA table and says it is an excellent option for virtually any hip replacement patient.

“It is really a muscle-sparing technique,” notes Dr. Perry. “When I can avoid disturbing the muscle, patients experience much less pain and a faster recovery. They don't have that extended period where the incision in the muscle is healing and then the rehab involved in strengthening the muscle so that it regains its optimum function level.”

That was music to Walter's ears. He said his hip joint was never exactly right.

“It was destined to wear out,” he said. “It got worse as I got older. But this was what I had been waiting for - someone to tell me I wouldn't have that long recovery.”

Traditional surgical access to the hip is through the side or back of the leg/hip area. It requires a long incision and cutting through a lot of muscle tissue to get to the hip joint. With the HANA table, patients are discharged earlier because they are able to walk sooner.

The surgical method using the HANA table is called the anterior approach to hip replacement because the surgeon makes an incision on the front of the leg near the hip - above, instead of through, the muscles. With a normal OR table, the patient's entire body lies sideways. It is easy to imagine how difficult it would be to dislocate the hip joint and place the implants from that angle - especially in a patient who is obese or who is very muscular.

With the HANA table, the patient remains on their back, but the lower part of the table drops the leg down, giving the surgeon an appropriate field to make a small incision right near the top of the large leg bone. Since that area naturally has very little fat or muscle, there is less trauma and it is fairly easy to do the replacement.

“My patients have been extremely happy with their outcomes,” Dr. Perry says. “But for any surgeon, the real proof is in the post-operative x-rays where I can see how well I was able to place the implant. Using this technique, I can say I am excited by the precision I am able to achieve. It is as good or better than using traditional methods.”

Walter, who works at General Motors, also appreciates it.

“I'm an engineer. I like precise,” he said.

In addition to hip replacement, Henry Ford Macomb orthopedic surgeons are using the HANA table as a newer method for treating hip, leg and pelvis fractures.

About the Center for Joint Replacement

The Henry Ford Macomb Center for Joint Replacement in Clinton Township focuses on healing body, mind and spirit as patients move from surgery and hospital stay to recovery and rehabilitation at home.

Patients receive an individual plan of care that includes advanced pain management, physical and occupational therapy. Private rooms are designed especially for the needs of patients getting a hip or knee joint replaced. Group therapy sessions take place in the “Gathering Joint,” activity area. The camaraderie experienced at these group sessions goes a long way to encourage recovery and build confidence.

The Center also offers a menu of complementary medicine services for patients to choose from, including therapeutic massage, Reiki, aromatherapy and music. The Center provides a unique staffing model that provides patients with care from a team of dedicated registered nurses and certified therapists who have been specially selected for the Center.

All of these special touches have helped put the Center in top 1 percent of hospitals nationally for patient satisfaction. The program's exceptional clinical quality has earned it certification by the Joint Commission for both hip and knee replacement procedures.

Upcoming free seminars

Join an orthopedic surgeon for a discussion of total joint replacement. Each guest will be treated to a five-minute chair massage after the presentation.

  • Nov., 13, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
    Shelby Macomb Medical Mall
    On Schoenherr, just south of 23 Mile Road
  • Dec. 11, 1 to 2:30 p.m.
    Henry Ford Macomb Hospital
    On 19 Mile between Garfield and Hayes