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Advanced Surgical Techniques for Joint Replacement

Adam Freedhand
Adam Freedhand, M.D.

New techniques and technologies for joint replacement surgery have revolutionized orthopedics, providing patients with the opportunity for enhanced outcomes and improvements in the overall joint replacement experience.

Adam Freedhand, M.D., specializes in joint replacement of the hip and knee and utilizes advanced technologies, such as robot-assisted surgery. He is affiliated with The Joint Center at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center and UT Physicians.

“Individuals who are looking for pain relief and are eager to once again enjoy their daily activities may benefit from these new technological advancements,” says Dr. Freedhand. “These advancements, the new MIS that can be described as Maximally Intelligent Surgery, offer innovative treatment options that combine cutting-edge surgical techniques with state-of-the-art technologies as an alternative to standard surgical procedures.”

Many Houstonians are among the 21 million adults in the U.S. whose enjoyment is limited when it comes to their lifestyle because of the devastating effects of arthritis. Arthritis continues to be the most common cause of disability, making simple tasks, such as climbing a flight of stairs, very difficult.

“I am now pain-free”

James Brown was among the many Houstonians struggling with joint pain.

He was a candidate for a MAKOplasty® anterior hip replacement as an outpatient at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Joint Center and is in his 10th week after surgery. “I am now pain-free and doing great,” he says.

Brown, the Surgical Services Administrative Director at Memorial Hermann Memorial City Medical Center, was having ongoing discomfort for a year and thought he needed physical therapy from possibly overdoing gym exercises.

He visited with Dr. Freedhand and an X-ray revealed that he had arthritis in his hip joint, where he was experiencing bone rubbing on bone. As weeks passed, his discomfort grew more significant and he decided to proceed with surgery.

“The surgery was relatively short and Dr. Freedhand uses a systematic and concise approach with the Mako® robotic system,” he says. The oral pain medication kept surgical discomfort to a minimum and after surgery all of his joint pain was gone.

“The overall experience was phenomenal,” he explains. “The ability to move increased significantly each day after surgery. From when I arrived at the hospital until I was discharged, the surgeon and the surgical team made the experience nothing but positive. Dr. Freedhand is a highly respected orthopedic surgeon and his conservative approach and great bedside manner are what every patient needs.”

Brown was discharged home three hours after his surgery and returned to work after three weeks, with no restrictions, and by week six he was back at the gym.

Minimally invasive options for hip replacement

“We use technology, such as robotics and computer-assisted navigation, combined with minimally invasive techniques, including direct anterior hip replacement,” explains Dr. Freedhand. “With these tools, most patients have better comfort after surgery, a more rapid recovery and they return to function more quickly.”

Total hip replacement is already a common orthopedic procedure and patients appreciate that when they replace their hip joint with an implant or prosthesis they gain pain relief and better mobility.

One of the minimally invasive techniques used in hip replacement surgery is the direct anterior approach that offers some patients advantages over the more traditional approach. Brown is an example of how this option was a very effective solution.

The direct anterior approach uses a relatively short incision in the front of the hip that allows for a muscle-sparing exposure of the hip joint without any muscle detachment. Being able to perform hip replacement surgery in this way can allow for less initial surgical pain and earlier functional recovery.

Another advantage is that the direct anterior approach may result in a shorter hospital stay, quicker rehabilitation, less scarring and less pain. Patients who are good candidates, like Brown, can resume their usual activities more quickly.

Advanced techniques for knee replacement

Another common orthopedic procedure, total knee replacement, has been performed in the U.S. since the 1960s. Total knee replacement is performed to replace the damaged or worn surfaces of the knee.

Dr. Freedhand notes that when these worn surfaces of the knee are replaced, the patient has increased mobility and pain relief.

Modern surgical techniques utilize shorter incisions and combined with advancements in pain management can allow patients to experience reduced postoperative pain and faster recovery times. The addition of advanced technology such as robot-assisted surgery allows for a more precise implantation of the knee replacement components with the goal of enhancing functional outcomes and the longevity of the implants. The traditional approach to knee replacement requires a longer incision in the center of the knee and lacks the use of advanced surgical navigation such as robotics.

“At UT Orthopedics,” explains Dr. Freedhand, “our highly skilled and trained orthopedic surgeons have extensive experience and they can determine the best surgical option for each patient based on a personal evaluation.”

Robot-assisted surgery

Robot-assisted surgery is another advanced surgical option and provides a more accurate placement of components, both in the knee and the hip. This technology is also used to optimize patient outcomes.

“It is proven that properly placed implants last longer,” adds Dr. Freedhand, “and the robot allows us to align the implants with more accuracy and reproducibility.” Dr. Freedhand is a national leader in robot-assisted joint replacement surgery.

He has performed over 1,000 procedures using the Mako® robotic system, and regularly teaches physicians from around the U.S. on the surgical technique.

Whether a patient is a candidate for joint replacement surgery or nonoperative care for their arthritic condition, “our team of affiliated specialists at our Joint Centers is committed to provide the best options and the best care for those suffering from arthritis of the knee and hip.”

Memorial Hermann Joint Centers are conveniently located throughout the Greater Houston area: Bellaire, Greater Heights, Katy, Memorial City, Southeast, Southwest, Sugar Land and The Woodlands Medical Center.

To learn more, call (713) 272-1888.