In and out: Hip surgery in the morning, home by night

Americans are wearing out their joints and requiring total hip replacement surgery at increasingly younger ages — some as early as 40.

Total hip replacement, a surgical procedure in which the head of the femur and its socket are replaced, is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. Over 340,000 people get a “new hip” each year to treat chronic pain and mobility issues caused by age-related wear and tear, arthritis, fractures, and other conditions.

Traditionally, patients face a lengthy and sometimes difficult recovery — an average of four days in the hospital, with follow-up care in a rehabilitation center.

New York pediatrician Julie Luttinger, 55, dreaded a second hip replacement — her first was twelve years prior and she had to miss six weeks of work.

“I live in the city. I walk to work every day and I walk my son to school. I couldn’t do that anymore,” Julie said. “To make matters worse, I felt guilty about abandoning my colleagues again.”

Fortunately, a new nontraditional approach pioneered by Dr. Roy Davidovitch, orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Health, is promising patients a quicker short-term recovery time. Many patients even leave the same day.

“Younger, active patients tend to be in the work force and a lot of them own their own businesses. They want to get back to work,” said Davidovitch. “With this approach they can come in the morning, have the operation, and be done sometime before noon. They go home sometime around 5, 6 o’clock in the afternoon.”

The same-day procedure uses a smaller, 3-inch incision and the minimally invasive technique on a specialized surgical table results in less damage to the muscles around the hip and less post-operative pain. Muscles and tendon are not cut to access the hip, allowing patients to be relatively functional right away. This leads to faster recovery.

The procedure generally leads to quicker short-term recovery. Ultimately, most patients recover after three to six months no matter which procedure is used.

The average cost of the same-day procedure and the traditional hip replacement is about the same — an estimated at $40,364, in the U.S. according to Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina. Both are coverd by most insurance companies.

Eligible patients are typically under age 65, healthy and active. Certain health conditions such as heart disease, chronic liver disease, uncontrolled diabetes, and obesity may make the procedure too risky.

By Shamard Charles, MD | NBC

Image Credit: Ed Dowling

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About Peter Coffaro 389 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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