Tucson Orthopaedic surgeon helps new hip replacement procedure

Source: KVOA 4 Your Health published on August 22, 2016

Written by John Overall

TUCSON – The first hip replacement surgery was performed in 1960. Now, more than 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States.

Dr. Russell Cohen from the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute joined a team of other surgeons to develop a new surgical technique that allows their patients to get back on their feet sooner.

59-year-old Mindy Sparks suffers from severe arthritis in her hips. About six months ago the pain became unbearable, “I would walk across a parking lot and almost feel like crying it hurt so badly,” Sparks said.

Dr. Cohen showed News 4 Tucson Mindy’s X-Rays, “You can see here that her hip joint is completely gone. There’s no separation between the ball and the socket. So these two hips are about as bad as a hip needs to be before we recommend it be replaced,” Dr. Cohen said.

Dr. Cohen has been performing minimally invasive hip and knee replacements since 2003. About three years ago Dr. Cohen joined six other surgeons and came up with a procedure they call The Direct Superior Approach to the hip.

Most surgeons make an incision along the femur bone, cutting into the Iliotibial Band which causes pain and requires more recovery time.

“The Direct Superior Approach stays at the very upper end of that incision so we come down to the top of the femur bone but we don’t go into the I-T band,” said Dr. Cohen.

Since the I-T band isn’t compromised and fewer muscles are disrupted, patients like Mindy experience less pain, less bleeding and fewer restrictions when they’re released from the hospital.

“Traditional hip patients are told don’t cross your legs, don’t bend past 90 degrees, watch out for dislocation, all these things. Well, I don’t do that anymore, I haven’t for quite some time,” Dr. Cohen said.

Sparks says she bounced right back after surgery, “It was easy, it was easy in the hospital. I felt better in the hospital instantly. They had me up and walking that day.”

Mindy started physical therapy the day after having her left hip replaced.  Three weeks later she’s walking much easier and looking forward to having her right hip replaced in a few weeks.

Dr. Cohen and his team are now traveling around the world teaching the Direct Superior Approach to other surgeons.

To learn more, visit the Tucson Orthopaedic Institute 4 Your Health page.