HealthWatch: Anterior Hip Replacement

Health Watch

When an Appleton man was first told he needed both hips replaced, he says he faced losing nearly a year of income with the traditional total hip replacement surgery.  Despite being in debilitating pain, that just wasn’t going to work.

“That would have been one at a time and I’d be off of work for almost a year,” said Lee Van De Hey of Appleton.

For an active guy who works in the heating and cooling business, spending nearly a year laid up wasn’t an option. 

“For my job it’s so critical,” Van De Hey explained. “I climb ladders, do stairs, you got to be able to move.”

Fortunately, Van De Hey had a friend who referred him to Dr. Mike Schnaubelt at Aurora BayCare Medical Center. 

“He said ‘Man, you gotta go see Schnaubelt.  He does anterior hip replacements,” van De Hey recalled.

Dr. Mike Schnaubelt is an orthopedic surgeon with Aurora BayCare who specializes in anterior hip replacements, as opposed to the traditional posterior method, where a surgeon accesses the hip joint from the back.

 “An anterior hip replacement  means from the front,” Schnaubelt explained. “So I make an incision more toward the front of the hip. The beauty is you don’t have to cut any muscle.”

The less invasive surgical method, means an easier recovery for the patient

“The recovery time is much quicker, patients get back to work quicker, we’re able to get them home the same day, typically,” Schnaubelt.

Before the surgery even started, though,  Schnaubelt made Van De Hey a deal;  attend Joint Class to learn about the surgery and start physical therapy prior to the surgery  to learn what will be required afterward.

“He said ‘If you do this for me, I’ll make sure I take care of you.’” Van de Hey said.

Van De Hey kept his end of the bargain and he said Schnaubelt did too.

 “The guy is amazing,” said Van De Hey. “The fact that they do this surgery and I think I was up and walking in 10 hours.

He just wishes he would have had the surgery sooner, rather than spending years trying to push through the pain.

“That was five years of my life that I wasted,” Van De Hey said.

For more information about  hip replacements, visit: https://www.aurorabaycare.com/services/orthopedics/hip/hip-replacement

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