Joint replacement returns mobility and quality of life

By Kathy Stinson, RN

You’ve lived with pain in one or both knees or hips for years. Activities such as golf, hiking, bike riding or perhaps even daily chores are a thing of the past or limited as best.

Like many others, you’ve tried various medications, treatments and physical therapy—all to no avail. You’ve thought about knee or hip replacement, but quickly dismiss it as an option after envisioning a long hospital stay, extended recovery and results that may be only slightly better than your current condition.

It’s time to reconsider. Joint replacement isn’t what it used to be. In fact, it’s now an effective—and often life-changing—option for more people than ever before.

Joint replacement can result in significant pain relief, restoration of mobility and a great improvement in quality of life.

Patients who have undergone joint replacement at Scottsdale Healthcare’s Total Joint Centers (so named because they offer everything from extensive pre-surgery education and healthcare professionals with specialized orthopedic training to dedicated orthopedic nursing units and rehabilitation) frequently comment that they wish they would have had the procedure sooner.

Much of today’s advancements in joint replacement have to do with improved technology. For example, knee implants have been developed that last longer and accommodate active lifestyles.

Beneficial alternative medical approaches also have been developed.

Case in point is the direct anterior approach to hip replacement surgery. With the traditional posterior approach, muscle and tendon are removed from the pelvis and leg bone, which ultimately affects the way patients sit, stand and move.

By comparison, the alternative direct anterior approach to replacing the hip joint doesn’t have these repercussions. This is because the surgery is performed without muscle detachment. Instead, surgeons use a natural division between muscles.

The same artificial hip implants are used in the direct anterior approach. However, thanks to today’s high-tech medical equipment, they can be implanted precisely so there is a more consistent and accurate restoration of the individual patient’s hip anatomy.

At Scottsdale Healthcare, for example, orthopedic surgeons use detailed digital images to plan a patient’s replacement surgery. Advanced x-ray images also are used during surgery to ensure the best possible outcomes.

Minimally invasive surgery an option for various procedures

The direct anterior approach to hip replacement surgery is a minimally invasive surgical technique. That means patients generally have smaller incisions and less hospital time, scarring, pain and recovery time than with traditional open surgery. In fact, the most important muscles for hip function and walking are not disturbed with the direct anterior approach—eliminating the need for them to heal.

Impressively, the benefits of minimally invasive surgery aren’t just for joint replacement patients. At Scottsdale Healthcare, experienced surgeons are using minimally invasive surgery—often combined with the latest medical technology—to treat patients with a variety of health issues.

For instance, physicians are using a daVinci surgical robot at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital and Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center to treat prostate, kidney, bladder and gynecological cancer. Scottsdale Healthcare has the longest experience with the daVinci robot of any Arizona hospital, acquiring the state’s first daVinci in 2001.

With the robot, surgeons sit at a digital console and view an actual image of the surgical field—in 3D high-definition! The robot’s high-tech instruments correspond to the surgeon’s hand movements at the console, allowing the surgeon to operate in real-time through tiny incisions.

To learn more about joint replacement surgery, contact Scottsdale Healthcare’s Total Joint Center at 866-969-8526, or email For information on minimally invasive surgery, the daVinci robotic surgical system, or the doctors and services available at Scottsdale Healthcare please call 480-323-3663.

Kathy Stinson is director of orthopedic and neuroscience services at Scottsdale Healthcare.  For patient stories, videos and more information about orthopedic services at Scottsdale Healthcare, visit