Medical Minute 1-10: Mistake-Proof Hip Replacement

By: Vanessa Welch Email
By: Vanessa Welch Email

It's been a painful trek for Chuck Murray. Last year he started feeling pain in his hip that just seemed to get worse and worse.

"You never realize what pain is like until you have it," said Chuck Murray.

But traditional hip replacement surgery is risky because surgeons pound and drill just by sight and feel, getting rid of or reaming the arthritic bone and replacing it with new parts.

"Sometimes we can get off one way or another," said Lawrence D. Dorr, M.D., Medical Director of The Dorr Arthritis Institute in Los Angeles, California.

A few millimeters off means pain for the patient. A recent study out of Boston showed the cup was in the wrong place 35 percent of the time. Doctor Lawrence Dorr, at Good Samaritan Hospital, is one of a handful of surgeons using a robotic arm to find the perfect fit.

"With the robot we know exactly how deep we need to go."

Doctor Dorr pinpoints a precise plan for tom before surgery. Surgeons need to keep the numbers to the right, green. If they turn red, the surgeon is going off track and the drill shuts down. Basically mistake-proofing the surgeon.

"This is the single most important advance in the technique of doing the operation since Charlie first did it in 1959.This changes the game for the technique," he said.

Precise movement of the robotic arm allows for a better fit for the implants, plus a less painful and quicker recovery.

Jeri Ward, RNDorr Arthritis Institute(213)

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