Innovative Hip Replacement Surgery Leaves Pam’s Tissue and Muscle Intact
Pam Glick knows a good surgeon when she meets one. She’s had more than a dozen surgeries due to her osteoarthritis. After moving from Chicago to Lewes, Delaware, nearly nine years ago, she became a patient at a local orthopaedic practice. In 2019, the nagging discomfort she’d felt and tried to address with physical therapy had turned into excruciating pain in her right hip. She couldn’t walk or even stand for very long, let alone play pickleball, ride a bike or do other activities she enjoyed.
The 69-year-old had plans to officiate her best friend’s wedding only a few months away. She was concerned about being able to fulfill this honor, particularly after her left hip started hurting too. Yet, she was determined to find a solution and overcome her latest health obstacle.
After consulting with providers and doing her own research, Glick knew an anterior total hip replacement was the right option for her. With this innovate approach, the surgeon makes a small incision in the front of the hip and separates muscle tissue to access the joint, leaving surrounding muscles intact. This differs from traditional hip replacement surgery with entry in the back or side of the hip where muscle and tissue has to be cut. The anterior approach typically results in reduced pain and a speedier recovery with less time in the hospital.
Glick hadn’t received care from Bayhealth before, but the anterior hip surgery approach offered at the Sussex Campus and Bayhealth Orthopaedics Surgeon Trinity Pilkington, MD, both came highly recommended. “In my first visit with Dr. Pilkington, I instantly knew I could trust him,” said Glick. “You can tell he’s an amazing surgeon, but is so easy to talk to, friendly and caring — he’s the whole package.”
X-rays confirmed that both of her hips needed to be replaced. Dr. Pilkington recommended a bilateral anterior total hip replacement in which both hips are surgically replaced during the same hospitalization, with a day of recovery in between. Glick followed all the pre-surgery steps, including attending Bayhealth’s preoperative Total Joint Class, which helps patients prepare for surgery and know what to expect afterwards. “The class was awesome. Everything leading up to surgery, in the hospital and with my follow-up care was exceptionally smooth,” she said.
Dr. Pilkington said it’s very important to verify again, after the first surgery, that a patient is still ready to go forward with the second operation. For Glick, who was up and walking more than 350 steps the same afternoon her first hip was replaced, it was an unequivocal yes. After the second surgery, she could easily bend and walk around the same day, and the debilitating pain she’d suffered for so long was immediately gone.
“There’s less risk of the replacement popping out of place with the anterior approach, so Pam had no post-surgery restrictions and could resume activities quickly,” said Dr. Pilkington.
Glick said she was astonished by the difference before and after the surgeries. After doing everything Dr. Pilkington and the physical therapy team recommended in her rehabilitation, she reached her goal, officiating her dear friend’s wedding just four and a half weeks after her surgeries — outside and on cobblestones, without a cane and wearing short heels, no less!
She was also amazed by the seamless integration of her care. “It was like a choreographed dance around making me well as quickly as possible. There was never a time when the staff didn’t work really, really well with each other,” said Glick. “I knew the nurses genuinely cared about how I felt and responded as quickly as possible. It was special — I haven’t found that elsewhere at the level I did at Bayhealth.”
Glick said having this procedure was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. “I can do so many things now that I couldn’t even dream of doing for a good portion of my 60s. Dr. Pilkington gave me a new start at life.”
Is Anterior Hip Surgery Right for You?
When persistent hip pain due to arthritis limits your daily activities, and conservative methods of treatment fail to provide relief, the minimally invasive anterior approach to hip replacement may be the perfect fit for you.