New Hip Replacement Has Patients Walking in Five Hours

About 130,000 people have hip replacement surgery each year.

That usually means five days in the hospital and at least two months with a walker or a cane.

There is a new technique that has people up and walking five hours after surgery.

Only five hours after being on an operating table having his hips replaced, Steve Sykora was up and moving.

How does it feel?

"Terrific. It feels a lot better than it did when I walked in here this morning," says Steve.

Had he had traditional hip surgery, he would be in bed for about a week and in a lot of pain.

"I was reluctant to get it done the other way because it scared the devil out of me. I mean that's a big incision," says Steve.

Dr. Stephen Helper is one of two orthopedic surgeons in Ohio performing the anterior approach hip replacement. Instead of cutting thru muscle in the back to get to the hip, he goes thru the front.

One of the things that make this surgery possible is the operating table. The table lowers Steve’s leg so the surgeon has access to his femur easier.

"It's much less work for all of us and less labor intensive and it's very, very nice if we want to move the leg we just turn a knob,” explains Dr. Helper.

What makes this better? Steve only has a four inch incision.

Since no muscles were cut, he will recover faster, suffer less pain and blood loss, have no post-op restrictions and be out of the hospital in three days.

"The median time to walk with no canes, crutches and walkers was 15 days,” says Dr. Helper.

"I never believed it would be this easy. It really is easy," explains Steve.

Steve had his right hip replaced three weeks ago, now he has a matching left.

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