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Article posted: 4/8/2013 5:58 AM

New method makes hip replacement easier

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Daniel Ellsberg requested a surgeon who would perform hip replacement surgery using the anterior method and said his experience was "amazing."

Courtesy of Ellsberg family

Dr. Anthony Unger, who has done about 4,000 hip replacements over 26 years, has used the anterior technique for the past eight years, and says "patients have better overall functionality" after the procedure.

courtesy of Anthony Unger

Hip replacement involves removing the joint -- the damaged bone and cartilage -- and replacing it with prosthetic parts made of metal, plastic or ceramics. In a break from past practice, some surgeons prefer to cut into the joint from the front.

courtesy of Anthony Unger

About this Article

Over the past two decades, the number of Americans having total hip replacements has more than doubled, to more than 300,000 a year. Though most patients eventually walk again without pain or the aid of a cane, recovery and rehabilitation can be rigorous, painful and lengthy. Typically, surgeons enter the joint from the rear, which requires cutting through muscle and cartilage. But with a relatively new procedure, surgeons enter from the front and only stretch the muscles aside, avoiding the cutting and minimizing pain and recovery time. According to those who use this anterior technique, the benefits are substantial.
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    • Daniel Ellsberg requested a surgeon who would perform hip replacement surgery using the anterior method and said his experience was “amazing.”
    •  Dr. Anthony Unger, who has done about 4,000 hip replacements over 26 years, has used the anterior technique for the past eight years, and says “patients have better overall functionality” after the procedure.
    •  Hip replacement involves removing the joint — the damaged bone and cartilage — and replacing it with prosthetic parts made of metal, plastic or ceramics. In a break from past practice, some surgeons prefer to cut into the joint from the front.
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