A hip replacement technique is gaining more attention here in Connecticut.
While doctors said it’s been around for a while, many of them don’t specialize in it.
It’s called “hip-in-a-day” surgery.
Hip replacement surgery is considered to be one of the most successful surgeries in terms of improving quality of life and restoring function, doctors said.
“I was saying, 'I'm too young to have surgery' and 'what is going to entail?' and 'how is my life going to be disrupted, because I'm a very active person?'” one patient told Eyewitness News.
Dr. Phil Minotti of CT Orthopedic Specialists in Branford said there’s a certain technique that doctors specialize in which, believe it or not, makes it a lot easier on a patient.
“It's called the direct anterior approach,” he said.
Minotti said he was one of the first doctors in Connecticut to perform the minimally invasive surgery on a routine basis.
“So the idea is, you can put the parts in with less trauma to the body, and less pain, and quicker return to function,” Minotti said.
A tradition hip replacement surgery involves an incision on the side or back of the hip and causes some muscles and tendons to detach.
In the direct anterior approach, it involves an incision on the front of the hip without detachment of any muscles or tendons.
The recovery time is incomparable, Minotti said.
“He goes, 'you're going to leave today, and your hip is going to be O.K.,” another patient said. “You're going to be able to do just about everything.”
Minotti and his staff use spinal anesthesia for the procedure.
“That's step one is being able to wake-up and feel good immediately,” Minotti said. “[Step] two is that we use a lot of local anesthetic like Novocain you get at the dentist. We put a lot of that in the hip.”
Once the drugs wear off, the doctor tailors a pain medication regimen for the patient.
One patient told Eyewitness News that she was done with her medication three days after surgery.
“I didn't expect it to be that fast, so that was a pleasant surprise,” she said.
The surgery is also economically conscious. The most expensive part is usually the hospital stay.
“We want to be able to provide an economical, effective surgery that's not limited in the years to come because of the way health dollars are being spent,” Minotti said. “I think getting people out of the hospital more quickly will indicate to the insurance company, 'Hey we're trying to control costs so people will always have access to good care.’”
No matter how it’s done, the price of hip replacement surgery is always the same. The insurance company generally covers 100 percent.
Minotti said as great as the technique is, it’s not for everyone.
Candidates include those who are generally healthy, at a reasonable weight and motivated.
“No matter how a hip replacement is done, if it's done properly, the results are excellent.” Minotti said.
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