Published on October 09, 2019

A less-invasive option for total hip replacement with a quicker recovery

Osteoarthritis can be a life-limiting condition, with stiff and swollen joints causing pain during movement or even at rest.
It can keep people from participating in activities they enjoy. Cheryl Perkins knows this all too well.

Perkins, 53, of Dexter, had no cartilage in her right hip – the delicate gliding surface of the joint – which resulted in extremely painful bone-on-bone contact made worse by bone spurs. She couldn’t walk for long periods of time without paying the price during pain-filled sleepless nights.

David Wexler, MD, FACS and Jenee Wechsler, ACNP-BCThanks to SuperPath®, a new minimally invasive total hip replacement procedure offered exclusively by MaineGeneral Orthopaedics’ surgeon David Wexler, MD, FRCS, Perkins has reclaimed her quality of life – with gusto!

“Since my surgery, I don’t have any pain,” Perkins says. “I get excited saying that six weeks after my surgery, I was walking around Quincy Market in Boston, on uneven cobblestones, with no trouble – and wearing sandals!”

Wexler began offering this technique 14 months ago and has performed it on 80 patients to date. He is assisted by Jenee Wechsler, ACNP, who provides treatment and long-term care for patients including those with arthritis of the hip and other musculoskeletal issues.

An integral part of the MaineGeneral Orthopaedics team, Wechsler works closely with Wexler and other orthopaedic surgeons to provide pre- and post-operative care and operating room assistance.

“She’s become so proficient with her surgical assistant role that she’s now one of the educators for the SuperPath® technique,” Wexler says.

What is SuperPath®?

SuperPath® is a tissue-sparing approach where no muscles or tendons are cut.

Unlike more traditional total hip replacement surgery, it does not require surgical dislocation of the hip. Because of this, there is little trauma to the surrounding muscles and tendons.

Benefits of this minimally invasive approach for patients include:

  • A smaller incision and a technique that spares critical muscles and tendons surrounding the hip;
  • A faster hospital recovery; and
  • A quicker return to work and activities of daily living with no typical restrictions.

Because of the less-invasive nature of the procedure, Wexler notes that the initial recovery time for patients is faster than it is for those who have traditional hip replacement surgery.

“In the first six weeks, patients who have undergone the approach seem to do much better, much quicker,” he says.

Total hip replacement surgery is offered by referral only. If you think you could benefit from this procedure to address your chronic hip pain, please speak with your health care provider to determine if a referral to MaineGeneral Orthopaedics is appropriate.