Dr. Joel Virkler Explains Same-Day Hip Replacement
Surgeon says same-day hip replacement offers fast recovery and less pain

By: Alexis Moberger, WLFI

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — A new hip replacement surgery technique offers quick recovery time and less pain; and it’s catching some local residents’ attention as it’s now available in Lafayette. News 18 looks into the increasingly popular technique.

Linda New found walking increasingly painful last year. She said activities like going to work and cooking dinner were almost unbearable because of her damaged hip.

“In fact, I didn’t realize how far away I was from just a normal life,” New said.

New had what Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Joel Virkler calls a same-day hip replacement surgery. It’s called the anterior approach and surgeons work in between the muscles and tissue rather than cutting through them, like other traditional methods.

“The patient lays on their back during the procedure as compared to their side for other approaches,” said Dr. Virkler. “So we can use an X-ray much more feasibly during the procedure to know exactly how much length and off-set we need to produce their normal anatomy.”

The method has a faster healing time because the muscles themselves don’t have to recover. The average healing time is about one day, which also saves patients money.

“Hospital stay is extremely expensive if lots of people are staying for three days verses one day,” Dr. Virkler said.

This is how the surgery is set up: A surgeon makes an incision in between the muscle fibers in order to replace the damaged hip joint with an artificial one. The joint, which is connected to a ball and socket, helps the patient move with greater ease.

“With the anterior approach I don’t have a therapist or the patient maintaining any precautions with the position of their leg,” said Dr. Virkler. “They can do whatever they want. There is no restrictions.”

A special surgical table is used with technique, to allow the surgeons to rotated and extend the hip as they do their work.

Dr. Virkler said the technique can be a hard one to master.

“Quite frankly it’s harder on us as surgeons,” said Dr. Virkler. “I think that’s why there’s been a slow transition to it.”

Three months post-surgery, New said her and her husband couldn’t believe just how fast her recovery was.

“He’s glad to have me back,” said New.

New had her surgery done at Lafayette Orthopedic Clinic.