CEO Musings

Hip Replacement Techinques

May 1, 2017

Greetings to all

Though she‘s been in “Royalty Heaven” for ages. I‘ve finally found something to share with the old Queen Mum—a sense of being at one with many of…subjects is not quite the word—let‘s say with my “mob”.

After a wing of Buckingham Palace was bombed in World War 2 the (then) Queen remarked “I can finally look the East Enders in the eye” (Referring of course to their huge suffering after the German air raids).

I doubt dear old Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, with a desiccated Rubens Masterpiece flaked through her hair, was staggering through the dust and rubble in her bloomers, offering shelter and succour to all….but people got the gist of her comment; there‘s nothing like shared experience to unite human beings.

Recently—actually 6 days ago—I had a right sided THR. Now that sounds quite imperial itself doesn‘t it? – a little of the H.R.H. about it….perhaps “Tend her Reign”. But in fact the initials stand for Total Hip Replacement one of the most commonly performed procedures for joint damage (arthritis) in the …ahem….over 60 age group. We all see this diagnosis and its twin sister TKR (Total Knee Replacement) countless times in our residents’ histories. Amongst contempories we hear more and more of friends heading off for joint surgery as techniques are now so advanced that stiffness, pain and loss of function are now unacceptable—we want to play golf, tennis, walk or work for as long as we want. If you are 60 now you hope to be “active” to enjoy the next 30 years or so in a life not defined by disability!

Aren‘t we lucky we have these choices?

I had my op last Friday 21/4/17. I was home the following day, on Saturday 22/4/17, – in the early evening when my “pain management” local anaesthesia catheter (a tiny tube really) was removed from my upper leg. Every day has seen progress. Today — day 6 post-op I have driven my car, shopped locally and just cooked a huge stew for dinner [It‘s freezing today and the savoury smells are wafting around the nice warm house — how nice for my sister to come home to!]

I cannot believe this; not one week since surgery and all of this is possible! Yes there has been stiffness, soreness and some challenges but I was prepared, everything explained and my role in this “joint” collaboration was clear; there was work to be done. My orthopaedic surgeons maxim is “motion is lotion” so staying in bed and expecting peeled grapes didn‘t get a look in.

This may all sound unremarkable to anyone not familiar with joint replacement procedure but to anyone who has had a traditional hip replacement (with the operation site on the outside of the hip) or has nursed such patients, the anterior (or frontal) method I have had is revolutionary.

With the muscles being separated, not cut through, a much smaller area opened up, a neater and more aesthetic suture line, a staged, highly individualized pain management program it really is possible to go home the next day! Most amazing of all is the almost total lack of precautions and restrictions and no need for a formalized inpatient Rehab program.

I spoke to my orthopaedic surgeon about the origin of the anterior approach. He learnt the technique in Europe but has made many aspects of this method his own whilst working in collaboration with other specialists to develop excellent pain control and exercise routines.

It was only dumb luck that brought me any knowledge of this approach; running into an old nursing friend at a function she regaled me with the joys of her newly minted right hip via the anterior method. (3 years prior she had received the traditional posterior replacement for her left hip so was able to compare the two and described the recent op as a “no brainer” and incomparable in the reduced downtime, restrictions and discomfort).

In the three weeks since I met my orthopod I have given his details to 4 other folk. This method will gain traction by word of mouth. You certainly won‘t hear about it from the many surgeons for whom the traditional method is the basis of much of their income.

Of course this is understandable — new methods and approaches take time to become imbedded. The Consumer calls the shots but if this person does not know of a different approach how can informed choices be made?

If you are interested please google “Anterior Hip Replacement Melbourne” and I am happy to chat any time!

Cheers to all!


(A small drawback for staff may be that instead of the 6 or 8 weeks off I‘ll be back in 2. I‘m such a tyrant — and it‘s always nice when the boss is away….).