Same-day hip replacement getting patients back on feet faster

Model of the hip replacement a patient received (KXAN Photo)
Model of the hip replacement a patient received (KXAN Photo)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Getting hip replacement surgery no longer means you’ll face days recovering in a hospital. Newer technology is allowing patients to stand up right after surgery, walking out of the hospital.

It’s been a game changer for 59-year-old Leesa Barton, who suffered in silence for over six years before going to a doctor.

“The pain would get so bad, my leg would go out from under me, but I still didn’t go to the doctor,” said Barton.

She didn’t know exactly what was wrong, but hoped she wouldn’t need hip replacement surgery.

“My mother had traditional hip replacement surgery in 1991, and she was in the hospital over a week. She was [then] in a skilled nursing facility for weeks. I thought in my head that’s what I was going to have to go to.”

X-rays showed a lack of cartilage in her right hip, nearly bone on bone. Barton found herself scheduling a total hip replacement surgery, but it wasn’t her mother’s surgery.

“I was able to stand about as soon as I woke up! Do everything by myself, walking with a walker to make sure I’m stable,” said Barton. “I knew from the first step, putting weight on it, that I had a more stable leg and the problem was fixed.”

Dr. Randall Schultz with Texas Orthopedics performed the surgery.

“She’s in incredible physical condition so she recovered extremely rapidly and was literally walking into the office within a couple weeks, without any assisted devices,” said Dr. Schultz. “The ones we send home the same day love it. They’re very pleased and think it’s a less stressful situation for them. In even those who do stay, we generally don’t have to keep them more than one night.”

The Direct Anterior approach used on Barton is a minimally invasive technique, allowing the surgeon to access the join through a smaller incision, which means a smaller scar. By preserving the soft tissue surrounding the joint, the technique allows for immediate stability following surgery, as well as a lower risk of dislocation, as the primary support muscles are left intact.

Dr. Schultz says a big factor in Barton’s speedy recovery was that she’s in great physical shape. She only had the surgery three weeks ago.

Barton says she’s already back to walking her dog and working out on her exercise bike. Dr. Schultz says they can work with patients before surgery to improve their health, in order to get better results.

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