Nearly 27 million Americans suffer from painful and debilitating osteoarthritis, also called wear-and-tear arthritis. When osteoarthritis strikes the hip, the pain can become so unbearable that it can make walking difficult, threatening to end an active lifestyle.

In the past, it wasn’t uncommon for middle-aged sufferers to accept a sedentary life when the pain set in. But according to BCH orthopedic surgeon C. Brian Blackwood, MD, of the BoulderCentre for Orthopedics, we now see a new generation of middle-aged patients who have much higher expectations.

“Many, especially those 45 to 64 years old, refuse to suffer through the aches and pains that affect their quality of life. They are unwilling to sacrifice an active lifestyle,” Dr. Blackwood explained during a free community health lecture held on Oct. 26 in Longmont.

"As a result, I see a steady stream of middle-aged people seeking hip replacement surgery after non-surgical options fail to provide any relief," he said.

Anterior Approach Offers Potential for a Quicker Recovery

An estimated 1 in 4 people will develop hip osteoarthritis. Currently, more than 300,000 sufferers undergo total hip replacement surgery annually.

Dr. Blackwood went into details about the technique he often uses for hip replacement surgery, called anterior hip replacement. In this approach, the surgeon accesses the hip joint by making a 4- or 5-inch incision at the front of the hip, near the groin.

“This offers the surgeon good access to the hip without detaching any muscles or tendons,” Dr. Blackwood said. “The benefits of this minimally invasive technique are the potential for less pain, a smaller incision, shorter hospital stay and quicker recovery with fewer precautions following surgery.”

Robotics for Increased Precision

Dr. Blackwood went on to describe BCH's Mako surgeon-controlled robotic arm and computer-guided navigation software to replace hip joints.

"The process starts with the advanced robotic surgery system generating a 3D virtual model of your specific anatomy, which we use to create a personalized plan for positioning your hip components," he said. "A surgeon can then guide the system's robotic-arm in the positioning of the implant based on your personalized pre-operative plan, optimizing surgical results."

At BCH, Mako technology is used for three types of surgery: total hip replacement, partial knee resurfacing, and total knee replacement.

Symptoms of Hip Osteoarthritis

  • Pain during or after movement. The pain can be stabbing and sharp or it can be a dull ache. You may also feel pain in your groin, inner thigh or knees.
  • Tenderness when you apply light pressure to your hip.
  • Stiffness when you wake in the morning or after a period of inactivity.
  • Loss of flexibility because you can’t move your joint through its full range of motion.
  • Bone spurs that feel like hard lumps and usually form around the joint.

If you suffer from these symptoms and wish to be evaluated for hip osteoarthritis, schedule an appointment with C. Brian Blackwood, MD, by calling 303-449-2730.

Click here to view PowerPoint slides from Dr. Blackwood’s lecture on "Latest Treatments for Hip Pain."

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