Anterior Approach Hip Replacement Surgery
"I believe it was divine intervention that I found Dr. Blackman."
In 2011, Nancy Geyer suffered constant pain from what she suspected was a pulled muscle. When she sought help at Piedmont Orthopedics, she was shocked to discover what was actually wrong.
"They did an x-ray, and there was almost no cartilage in my hip joint," she says. "It was bone on bone. I needed a hip replacement."
Nancy, then an active 63-year-old who had previously power-walked 3 miles every day, reeled from the news. She worried about when she would be able to resume her exercise regimen as she heard "horror stories" from others, warning that traditional hip replacement surgery would mean weeks of recovery and severe limits on activity for months.
"I thought, I am too young – this can't be happening," Nancy recalls.
Everything changed for the better when she went for a pre-surgery appointment with Piedmont Orthopedics surgeon Christopher Blackman, MD. He recommended direct anterior approach hip replacement surgery, a less invasive alternative to traditional hip replacement surgery. This type of surgery dramatically reduces recovery time, pain and chances of hip dislocation. Dr. Blackman was the first surgeon to regularly perform direct anterior approach hip replacement surgery in the Greensboro area.
"I told Dr. Blackman about all the horror stories I had heard about traditional hip replacement surgery – that I would be laid up for 6 weeks or longer, would need a special device for the commode and would not be able to climb stairs," Nancy says. "He said, 'That's not going to happen with this surgery.' "
Dr. Blackman explained to Nancy that the anterior approach (or surgery through the front of the hip) is easier on patients because muscles do not have to be cut, the incision is smaller than in traditional surgery, and imaging equipment enables the surgeon to precisely position the hip replacement.
"He was so excited about this procedure, he got me excited," she says. "And true to his words, it was much smoother than I ever dreamed possible."
Nancy had surgery on a Friday and was home the following Monday morning.
"I walked in the door and was able to walk upstairs to my bedroom," she says. "I was released from physical therapy the next week and stripped wallpaper in my bathroom– climbing up and down a ladder."
Within 2 weeks of her surgery, she was back walking 3 miles daily – "although a little more slowly than normal" – and back at her part-time job as an office manager.
A year and a half after her surgery, Geyer says she can do any physical activity she wishes. Changes in the weather sometimes cause other joints to ache but "my hip never, ever, ever hurts."
She has recommended Dr. Blackman and anterior hip replacement surgery to many other people she knows. "I believe it was divine intervention that I found Dr. Blackman," she says.