Comparing the differences between the posterior and anterior hip replacement surgery methods for hip osteoarthritis
Denise was in her 30s when she first started experiencing hip pain on her right side. She thought she had pulled something moving furniture and went to the doctor. She had an X-ray done and learned she has osteoarthritis in her hip, also known as degenerative hip disease. The doctors decided it was best to monitor the situation with X-rays be
“I was able to push off surgery for eight years,” says Denise. “When I turned 40 we decided osteoarthritis in my hip was in really bad shape and that it was time for surgery. I had a posterior hip replacement surgery completed at a practice that took my insurance.”
This was at another practice before she learned about Muir Ortho.
The posterior hip replacement surgery goes through the back side of the hip joint and requires multiple muscles and other soft tissues to be detached in order to access the hip. These muscles are reattached and repaired at the end of surgery.
“After the first surgery, I felt incredible, and for the last 18 years I have been pain-free on the right side.”
Hip pain from degenerative joint disease returns – on the left side
In 2015 Denise started to experience hip pain on her left side.
“My first thought was, Oh no, the osteoarthritis is happening again but this time on my left hip,” says Denise.
She went in for an X-ray and her feelings were correct: her left hip was showing degenerative joint disease. But she was still able to walk so she waited five years before the pain got so bad that she knew she had to get surgery.
After her first surgery, Denise knew she did not have to suffer in pain.
“I want to reassure people that it is worth doing the surgeries to get back to where they want to be. Don’t wait forever and be miserable.”
The difference this time around was Denise had changed insurance carriers so she needed to look for a new orthopedic surgeon.
Finding the right doctor and surgery for her osteoarthritis
While waiting for surgery Denise talked to a couple of people who had recent hip replacements and heard great stories about Dr. Louay Toma.
“They had nothing but five-star comments to say about what a great surgeon he was and that their recovery was really smooth,” says Denise.
After the recommendations, she moved to research Dr. Toma online and started reading reviews about him.
“I continued to see people talk about what a great surgeon he was, sharing that his bedside manner was awesome. Some of his former patients referred to him as the surgeon with magical hands,” says Denise. “Those were the types of comments I was reading about him, so I knew that was who I wanted to do my left hip.”
While doing her research she also learned about the anterior minimally invasive hip replacement surgery that he primarily uses.
The difference from Denise’s past surgery and the anterior approach is this procedure is done through the front side of the body. This surgery option gives patients a quicker recovery process and is less invasive because the surgeon does not need to detach or split any muscles. The anterior approach also eliminates the risk of dislocation or range of motion issues in the hip.
“I was very excited about this new method and was not apprehensive at all,” says Denise. “That was the final thing that sold me on Dr. Toma.”
Meeting Dr. Toma
Denise went to see him in January 2019 for her initial appointment.
She was ready for surgery. For the last two months her left hip had really started to affect her life and bother her. Dr. Toma agreed and scheduled the surgery for March.
“I always tell people that before you have surgery you need to make sure you are not apprehensive and that you feel 100% at ease,” explains Denise.
“There is something about Dr. Toma that makes you feel comfortable going into surgery. I knew that I would be well taken care of.”
Rapid recovery after anterior hip replacement surgery
“Prior to surgery, Dr. Toma said that I was going to have a fast recovery and I would go home the next day and be driving in a week. I thought, Oh really?”
Dr. Toma was not lying.
Denise was in her recovery room shortly after noon and was walking the hallways an hour later. Twenty-four hours later Denise was discharged from the hospital and went home.
“When I came home I felt more at ease because there are less things you have to be concerned about than when I came home after the posterior method,” says Denise. “I was allowed to put full weight on the joint and walk.”
Denise shared that another benefit of the anterior method is that after surgery there are no sleep restrictions, mentioning that she could roll over and did not have to sleep with a pillow between her legs.
The day after surgery she was walking with a cane and not needing a walker. That was also the first day that a physical therapist came to her house. After three physical therapy sessions, Denise was released from the therapist’s care and told to continue at home exercises.
“The first time around, with the posterior method I was not able to put weight on the leg for a couple of weeks and the recovery process was a lot longer.”
A week after surgery Denise was walking around the grocery store with a cane.
“I was not anywhere near being able to do that the first time around.”
Prior to surgery, Denise had to give up yoga and going to the gym due to the hip pain. She is only six weeks out from surgery but is so excited that she is already able to walk. And she’s ready to be cleared for gentle yoga and other exercises soon.
“I am looking forward to enjoying how my life should be rather than walking with a cane and being in pain all the time,” says Denise, getting emotional and tearing up. “Thank you is not enough, I am very grateful and appreciative for Dr. Toma. He changed my life and gave me my life back.”