Just weeks after Dr. Steven Louis of Hinsdale Orthopaedics performed Direct Anterior Approach hip replacement surgery on Jim Graff, 63, of Lake-in-the-Hills, Graff was back to practicing eastern fitness techniques Tai Chi and Chi Kong — and back to work as a massage therapist. The best part is that within days he was completely pain-free and flexible after years of discomfort and limited motion from a frozen hip and uneven legs from an earlier hip replacement.
“I haven’t been this limber and comfortable since I was a pre-pubescent,” Graff explains. “I’m back to exercising regularly and performing well at my job which sometimes requires standing for up to six hours at a time.”
Graff rebounded from hip surgery so quickly because the Direct Anterior Approach allowed Dr. Louis to reach both hip joints from the front, as opposed to the side or posterior used in traditional hip replacement surgery. This helped to replace the hip without detaching muscle from the pelvis or femur. Consequently, the important gluteal muscles, which play a key role in hip function, were less affected than with traditional hip replacement surgery.
Dr. Louis, who is one of the few in the Chicago area trained to perform this new surgical approach, has completed more than 100 successful Direct Anterior Approach procedures on Chicago area patients. He now trains other physicians in this technique.
Graff’s quick recovery is in direct contrast to the long recuperation and side effects he experienced when he had a traditional (posterior approach) hip replacement by another physician in 2001. That surgery also left one leg shorter than the other which made him walk with a limp.
“Jim was a perfect candidate for this new procedure because he was in good health and wanted to get back to his active lifestyle and job as quickly as possible,” Dr. Louis explains. “This less-invasive Direct Anterior Approach is much easier on the patient because there is less tissue and muscle involved in the surgery.”
As a massage therapist for 13 years, Graff had become unable to stand for long periods of time. On a typical day, he works with two to three patients back-to-back, requiring up to six hours standing. He also couldn’t bend over to tie his shoes or lift his knees while exercising. As a person who is very in tune with his body, he was frustrated with his limited range of motion. When he met Dr. Louis, at the suggestion of his chiropractor, he enjoyed Dr. Louis’ casual manner, sense of humor and confidence in treating his frozen hip. (a condition in which the bones of the hip joint have fused together over time)
Post-surgery, Graff has noticed that he is almost two inches taller since Dr. Louis stretched the muscles surrounding the hip during surgery to lengthen his shorter leg. Graff also has his balance back, his spine feels better and he has better posture. And, he is happily tying his own shoes, taking two stairs at a time and practicing Tai Chi and Chi Kong several times a week.