Severe hip pain can leave a person feeling depressed and defeated. Challenges with walking and everyday activities – not to mention giving up a favorite sport or active lifestyle – can dramatically alter a person’s outlook on life. But a new technology is giving hip replacement patients hope and a new sense of determination to live out their best life with every step they take.
Meet Adam Chopp, 30, a fitness fanatic from Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Adam played football in college until a hip injury sidelined him. Over the course of seven years, he had four separate arthroscopic surgeries to repair what doctors diagnosed as a labral tear, which he kept reinjuring. He tried to keep up with his weight-lifting routine to stay in shape, but he described his hip pain getting “progressively worse.” The pain, which started to radiate into his lower back, became chronic in 2020.
“What he really needed was a total hip replacement,” said Henry Finn, medical director of Chicago Center for Orthopedics and Robotic-Assisted Surgery, and Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Chicago. Dr. Finn detected a slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE). The hip condition, which usually develops during the teenage years, occurs when the ball at the head of the thighbone slips out of the hip socket in a backwards direction. “The only fix for the disorder is to replace the hip.”
Like with many people under the age of 60, there were concerns replacing Mr. Chopp’s hip because of his young age. Mr. Chopp will likely need another new hip in 20 to 30 year, facing yet another surgery. But for Mr. Chopp, it came down his quality-of-life.
“I didn’t really have a choice,” Mr. Chopp said. “It was frustrating. My lower back hurt. If I continued on this course, it would have gotten worse. I didn’t want to live the next 30 years in this kind of pain and be limited playing with my son and my dogs and staying active with my girlfriend.” Chopp is a father to a 4-year-old son and three energetic dogs – two rescues and one mini-Australian shepherd. Also, he likes to travel with his girlfriend. “The last 7 years have been hard. I began to compensate for the pain. I had a limp. It was increasingly more difficult to walk. I would have had a lot of pain the rest of my life.”
Mr. Chopp traveled 155 miles and crossed two state lines to have his surgery with Dr. Finn.
“When it makes sense to proceed with a hip replacement on a man as young as Mr. Chopp,” Dr. Finn noted, “it helps to have the latest technology in the surgical suite to navigate the hip area. It enables surgeons to confirm that patients, like Mr. Chopp, get optimal positioning of their hip replacement components.”
Dr. Finn performed Mr. Chopp’s surgery using a new computer-navigated tool call Real Intelligence Hip, or RI.HIP. The technology confirms the precise fit of the acetabular component in the hip socket. It also helps with perfectly balancing the soft tissue in the hip area. A malpositioned acetabular component can lead to dislocation and accelerated wear of the hip.
Another advantage to this computer navigated surgery is that it accommodates accurate leg length. Leg length discrepancy is a main concern for patients, but this technology provides better outcomes. Also, surgeons no longer need x-ray imaging in the operating room, which decreases the time of surgery and exposure to radiation.
“The precision of RI.HIP leads to an exact implant fit, which means patients will likely increase their level of function and move more naturally with their new hip,” Dr. Finn added.
“It has been a life-changing surgery for me,” Mr. Chopp said. Three weeks after surgery he notes, “It gave me a better quality of life and outlook on life.” The general manager of a fitness studio added, “Also, the pain has subsided considerably.”
It is expected to be up to eight weeks before Mr. Chopp can return to the weight room to workout.
More than 500,000 Americans need of a new hip each year. Now, the latest computer-navigated surgery gives them another option in surgical care.
If you have knee or hip pain and want to discuss surgical or non-surgical interventions, please call 773-564-7770.