SRO Patient Talks About How Hip Replacement Surgery Was Even More Successful Using the Anterior Approach

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Santa Rosa Orthopaedic’s patient tells her story of recovery from debilitating hip pain thanks to Dr. Ehmer’s innovative use of the anterior approach to hip surgery technique.

SRO Hip Replacement Patient Theresa Lane

The best part is that I was walking immediately after surgery and discharged from the hospital the very next day...

As an avid recreational tennis player, Santa Rosa resident Theresa Lane developed progressive hip pain over the years. Being a professional nurse with osteoarthritis, she knew that a hip replacement was inevitable. She was also well versed about the latest surgical techniques and benefits of using the “anterior approach.” After extensive research, she discovered that SRO’s Dr. Nathan Ehmer D.O. was the local expert. In June, Theresa underwent a total hip replacement to resolve her disabling bone-on-bone pain, and she is so happy with the results she is telling her story now.

“I am so grateful to Dr. Ehmer for resolving my hip pain, making it possible to enjoy my retirement, play tennis again (every day) and return to the things I love in life,” says Theresa Lane. “The best part is that I was walking immediately after surgery and discharged from the hospital the very next day. After three days, I was walking unassisted and off all pain medications within five days. After just two weeks, I was playing tennis and given permission to dance.”

What is ‘the anterior approach’ to hip surgery?

Total hip replacement surgery has been utilized by surgeons for decades to treat hip trauma and late stage arthritis of the hip. Pioneered in the 1960s, advances made in this surgical procedure have gradually improved outcomes and patient satisfaction. Case studies have demonstrated that 90 percent or greater are still functioning well after 20 years, and after 30 years the rate decreases only slightly, to about 70 percent. Over the years, doctors have worked to improve the procedure to make it less invasive, reducing the size of the incisions while improving the overall safety and effectiveness of the original technique. These improvements helped to diminish trauma, limit adverse reactions to anesthesia and decrease time spent in the hospital.

The anterior approach is a newer aspect of total hip replacement surgery that is now viewed by many surgeons as a better alternative to the more common posterior approach. Although it is a surgical technique that has been in use since the 1980s, recent breakthroughs in instrumentation makes it possible to perform the anterior approach using much smaller incisions.

“Using this procedure, we are able to make a much smaller incision through the front of the leg, rather than the back,” says Dr. Ehmer. “This allows us to access the hip and reach the joint by gently separating, rather than cutting into important muscles. This is an approach that is much easier on our patients and provides a much swifter recovery time.”

Anterior hip replacement surgery very frequently results in a swifter recovery and shorter hospital stay for patients, primarily due to reduced muscular damage. “For the vast majority of our patients undergoing total hip replacement using the anterior approach outcomes are reported as ‘excellent’,” explains Dr. Ehmer.

About Nathan R. Ehmer, D.O.

At Santa Rosa Orthopaedics, Dr. Ehmer is part of a collaborative team of multi-specialist orthopedic surgeons and highly skilled physical and occupational therapists. In its efforts to bring the best outcomes to patients, SRO offers patients in-house diagnostic imaging, rehabilitation, sports injury prevention, as well as advanced surgical treatments in joint replacement, sports medicine, trauma care, hand, foot, ankle, and general orthopedic surgery. For more information and to schedule an appointment call 707-546-1922.

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John Beilharz
since: 12/2013
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