Which Method of Hip Replacement is the Best for Hunters and Anglers
As they age, hunters and anglers may find the outdoor activities they’ve always enjoyed are becoming more difficult due to hip pain. Climbing into a stand, walking through dense underbrush to their shooting house, wading in the marsh to setup decoys or pulling in that big lunker on the end of the line may cause too much physical pain to enjoy. Hip pain, which can be caused by arthritis and other conditions, can put a huge damper on the outdoor enthusiasts’ lifestyle, but fortunately there’s a solution. Hip replacement surgery can get them back out there and actively enjoying their favorite past times after a fairly short recovery period. But which method of hip replacement is best?
How Do You Know If You Need a Hip Replacement
Dr. Jacob Seales, a joint replacement and revision surgeon in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida, who specializes in hip and knee replacements assisted by Stryker Mako SmartRoboticsTM, says when the pain becomes too much and you are no longer able to enjoy the activities you once loved, then it may be time to consider hip replacement surgery.
“I see a ton of aging hunters and anglers in my practice who suffer from different types of joint pain. It gets in the way of the hobbies they love. The pain is typically caused by osteoarthritis. Millions of people develop it in the U.S. and the older you get, the more likely you are to get it. Your weight and activity level can also play a role. Genetics plays a role as well. If it runs in your family, you’re more likely to suffer from it,” Seales said.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that approximately one in four adults in America suffer from doctor-diagnosed arthritis and almost 44% of those diagnosed are so physically limited that they can’t fully take part in the activities and hobbies they enjoy.
When cartilage breaks down and thins out over time, it causes pain and inflammation. Seales said when someone comes in to his office with pain, stiffness, swelling and/or loss of motion in their hip, he does an x-ray or MRI to confirm a diagnosis of joint disease and to see how far it’s progressed.
If it’s in the early stages and not too severe, he tries conservative treatment, such as physical therapy and steroid injections to relieve the pain. For some people, the conservative treatment is enough and the disease will never progress to the point where they need surgery, but for many, surgery is needed in order for them to get back to the activities they enjoy.
“I always try to give patients control in the decision of when or if to do the surgery. It’s an elective procedure. Usually, once it gets to the point where it’s bothering them badly enough and they’re not able to do the things they enjoy, or if the injections just aren’t helping enough, they’re ready to get a hip replacement,” Seales said.
Anterior Vs Posterior Hip Replacement
Anterior vs posterior hip replacement need to be considered when considering which method of hip replacement is the best.
Thanks to a new method of surgery and the help of a robotic-arm, hip replacement surgery has advanced a lot over the recent years so that the patient can go home the same day as the surgery, and it takes less time to recover and get back out doing the things he or she loves.
“Over the last 15 to 20 years, the direct anterior approach to hip replacement surgery has gained in popularity. It’s a more minimally invasive, muscle-sparing way to do a total hip replacement. And because it spares the muscles, patients are able to bounce back more quickly,” Seales said.
These days, surgeons go through the front side of the hip between a natural window in the hip muscles instead of the posterior approach that was once used that required cutting the muscle. As the new approach has developed and surgeons have learned how to do it more successfully with low risk, it’s gained in popularity.
“After the old posterior surgical method, the average recovery time was three months. With the new anterior method using the Mako robotic arm, the average recovery time is now only six weeks. Most of my patients go home the same day and are walking unassisted in two to three weeks. It’s such as successful surgery that so many of my patients tell me they wish they hadn’t waited so long to do it,” Seales said.
Robotic Hip Replacement
Seales began using the Stryker Mako robotic arm, which enhances precision, decreases pain and improves recovery time, a little over five years ago and says surgery using the robotic arm typically only takes 30 minutes or so.
Prior to the Stryker Mako hip replacement, a CT scan is taken of the joint and the info/image is entered into the robotic arm. The system then creates a 3-D virtual model of the joint to help the doctor plan for the surgery. The pre-surgical plan is overlaid on the real-time surgery and used as a guide. The surgeon uses the robotic arm to precisely prepare the bone according to visual boundaries that protect the essential structure and removes only the part that’s been affected. The robotic arm is used to place the implant and ensure that it is balanced and fits well. The robotic arm’s tracking eyes can also adjust for very small movements.
Seales explained that the robotic arm makes the actual cuts so the alignment is within a half millimeter and a half of a degree of where it’s supposed to be. The robotic arm offers a much more precise way of performing the surgery and allows the surgeon to finetune cuts requiring less soft-tissue release to make adjustments, which means less pain and a quicker recovery.
Of course, it’s important to understand that the robot isn’t performing the surgery, the surgeon is. The surgeon controls the robotic arm and combines his or her knowledge and judgment with the robot’s precision and control, resulting in a more precise procedure.
During the procedure, the surgeon replaces an arthritic or dysfunctional joint surface with an orthopedic prosthesis made of titanium or polyethylene. The most commonly performed joint replacements are hip and knee, but can be performed on other joints, including the ankle, wrist, shoulder and elbow.
How Long to Recover After Hip Replacement
After the surgery, the patient is up and moving around after a few hours with the help of the hospital staff. The patient can then return home that same day, although elderly or more debilitated patients may need to stay in the hospital an extra day.
“Usually, after around six weeks of recovery, most people are starting to get back to their normal lives and doing the things they enjoyed doing before they suffered from severe hip pain. They’ll have some limitations the first couple of months, but after three months, they will enjoy pain-free, full range of movement in the replaced joint with no restrictions or long-term issues,” Seales said.
He said after they’ve healed from surgery and realize how easy and successful the process was, many of his patients say that they wish they’d had surgery sooner so they wouldn’t have missed out on their hobbies and activities for so long.
How Long Does Hip Replacement Last
Thanks to the higher-quality titanium and polyethylene implant material, implants can now last 25 to 30 years, so the risk of revision is low for most people. Past implants would only last for approximately 10 years, which often meant replacement was necessary, especially for younger patients.
So when we consider which method of hip replacement is best…with the advancement in surgical technique, and the help of the Stryker Mako robotic arm, anterior hip replacement surgery is the solution for many hunters and anglers who suffer from joint pain that limits their time and activities in the outdoors.