RICHMOND, Va. -- Laura Fischer has always stayed in shape, whether exercising or spending time outdoors with her family. However, arthritis in her hip joint, made staying active a challenge as Fischer approached middle age. Both Fischer's mother and sister suffer from arthritis, so she knew one day surgery would be inevitable.
"I had been in pain for a long time and when I finally did get the results of the x-ray, it wasn't that much of a surprise," Fischer said.
She needed a Total Hip Replacement, but didn't want a long recovery time. As a younger patient, Fischer was a good candidate for an Anterior Hip Replacement, a surgical procedure that is less invasive than traditional hip replacement surgery.
Dr. Matt Dobzyniak, an orthopedic surgeon with Parham Doctors' Hospital, said the average age of patients needing a hip replacement has decreased over the years.
"We're seeing a lot more hip arthritis and hip disease in younger people now," Dobzyniak said.
Traditionally surgeons performed hip replacement surgery by making an incision behind the hip (posterior), or on the side of the hip (lateral).
Now it's become more common for physicians to use an anterior approach, an incision in front of a patient's hip.
"No nerves are cut, no muscles are cut, no muscles are detached from the bone. [That] is different than doing a hip through a lateral or posterior approach, and because you don't cut muscle or remove any muscle from the bone that causes the joint to move, patients recover faster," the doctor added.
The surgery generally lasts for one hour and most patients go home within the first 24 hours.
Fischer was the first of Dobzyniak's patients to have the procedure done as an outpatient.
"I checked in around 11 and was home by 5:30," Fischer said.
After a few weeks of in-home physical therapy, Fischer was back to exercising in just a matter of weeks.
"I was working out in the gym lightly after three or four weeks and probably back to my normal self after six weeks or so," Fischer said.
Physicians say most patients are fully recovered after three months and living pain free with full mobility and range of motion.
To learn the latest in Anterior Hip Replacement, Dr. Dobzyniak is hosting an event Wednesday, August 21 at Parham Doctors' Hospital, Medical Office Building 3, Room 314. To reserve your space call 804-320-3627.
Working For Your Health is a partnership with HCA Healthcare. Serving the greater Richmond area, Chippenham, Henrico Doctors’, Johnston-Willis, Parham Doctors’, and Retreat Doctors’ Hospital are part of HCA Virginia. Watch for Working For Your Health reports Tuesdays on CBS 6 News at 7 p.m.