Message from Dr. Dan Albright
"MOTION IS LIFE and LIFE IS MOTION" is a common saying in orthopedics. To have a healthy life, we all need to move, the more the better. If you have worsening arthritis pain in your hip or knee, you ought to get it checked out. My first goal with my patients is to explore all the things that can be done besides surgery. When your hip or knee arthritis pain gets too intense, joint replacement can be a fantastic option.
Hello and welcome to my website which will introduce you to the wonderful world of hip and knee replacements! I started my career in 1994 performing both spine surgery and joint replacements. Over the years, I increased my focus on the hip and knee and now commit 100% of my time to joint replacement operations.
TOTAL HIP REPLACEMENTS using the anterior approach
Total hip replacements have been called "one of the best operations in medicine" and "the operation of the century". I specialize in the direct anterior (front) approach to the hip which I first learned in 1987 during my residency training at Yale University.
Most of my patients go home the same day of surgery or by the next day. I believe the sooner you get home and leave the hospital setting, the lower the risk for a surgical wound infection.
First Advantage of the Anterior Approach to the Hip:
Using the anterior hip approach, there is a dramatic reduction in hip dislocations compared to the posterior hip approach which allows me to eliminate ALL hip precautions immediately after surgery. This means my patients are allowed to squat, tie their shoes, twist, cross their legs and do whatever they want immediately after their hip replacement. This is a huge advantage for the anterior approach compared to the posterior approach to the hip.
I have seen many patients' stress melt away after anterior surgery when they realize they don't need to worry about their hip replacement dislocating.
Most patients in the United States undergo a posterior approach total hip replacement which usually requires many weeks of strict precautions so the total hip does not dislocate. These precautions include no bending the hip past 90 degrees, no reaching down low, no crossing legs, and no sitting on a low toilet seat.
These hip restrictions after posterior surgery can be stressful for many patients due to the fear and real risk of a dislocating total hip.
What is a hip dislocation and why is it important to avoid?
When the ball of the hip (femoral head) pops out of the hip socket (acetabulum), a dislocation occurs which is about the most painful thing you could ever experience. A dislocated total hip at home means you call "911" for an ambulance to go back to the hospital for a "closed reduction" under anesthesia in the emergency room or operating room. Sometimes more open hip surgery is required.
After the closed hip reduction, you are required to wear a big hip brace 24 hours a day for 6-12 weeks. You should not remove the hip brace to shower.
The obvious conclusion here is: don't dislocate your total hip!
The anterior approach to the hip helps maximize hip stability and avoid a hip dislocation, especially compared to the posterior hip approach.
Second Advantage of the Anterior Approach to the Hip:
A second advantage unique to the anterior approach to the hip is that no muscle or tendon is cut or repaired later. The approach is "muscle splitting" and "muscle sparing" where muscles are simply spread sideways. At the end of surgery the muscles just fall back together. Other approaches to the hip require that tendons and muscle are cut off of bone then stitched back to bone. No tendons or muscle are stitched back with the anterior hip approach. I have performed all the approaches to the hip over the years. My personal experience is that my anterior hip patients hurt less and recover quicker because of this muscle splitting and muscle sparing approach.
Third Advantage of the Anterior Approach to the Hip:
A third advantage unique only to the anterior hip approach is the use of fluoroscopy or X-ray pictures during surgery to visualize BOTH hips. This X-ray technique helps with the precise, efficient placement of hip implants.
Fourth Advantage of the Anterior Approach to the Hip:
I use a special hip operating table (Hana table) designed specifically for anterior hip replacements which makes surgery much easier and more efficient.
My goal after an anterior approach total hip replacement is to eliminate fear in my patients and create confidence that they will have a pain free, strong hip replacement that will last for decades.
TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENTS:
Total knee replacements have helped millions of patients worldwide and are very successful. However, total knee surgery can be a little trickier than hip surgery for some patients. The early recovery after knee surgery is sometimes longer and tougher compared to hip replacement surgery. More physical therapy is required. The long term result for total knee replacements is outstanding. Most patients are very happy with their total knee.
PARTIAL KNEE REPLACEMENTS:
Some patients need replacement of only one third of their knee which results in a more "natural" feeling knee since two thirds of the knee is left untouched. This operation is called a partial knee replacement or unicondylar knee replacement, usually on the medial (inner) side of the knee. Partial knee replacements have been shown to last as long as total knee replacements.
THE ADVANTAGE OF FELLOWSHIP TRAINING IN HIP AND KNEE REPLACEMENTS:
After my orthopedic residency training at Yale University in 1992, I completed a fellowship in hip and knee replacements at Harvard's Massachusetts General Hospital. Fellowship training gave me great experience with the "tough cases" and complicated revision or repeat surgeries around the hip and knee. Specialization in joint replacements through a committed hip and knee fellowship is important.
I also completed a second fellowship in spine surgery. Research demonstrates that disorders in the spine can affect how hip and knee replacements should be done. My two fellowships in spine and hip / knee give me a unique perspective that helps me perfect hip and knee replacement surgery.
Dr. Albright's Philosophy Treating Patients:
My goal with my patients is to treat you like I would treat myself and my family. I look forward to gaining your trust and giving you a joint replacement that allows a pain-free, active healthy life for decades. Most of my patients eventually forget they even have an artificial joint.
The best part of my job is seeing my patients come back to the office after surgery walking normally and without pain. It is a great reward for me to hear patients talk about all the activities they can do after surgery that they could not do before surgery, like play golf and tennis, play with grandkids, travel, hike, and many other activities.