Local man pleased with new, less invasive technique for hip replacement

SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - From Novant Health Rowan Medical Center: When Billy Matte, 57, was facing a hip replacement last year, he thought he'd have to settle for a conventional surgery with a 12-inch scar and a two- to four-month recovery. Although a relatively new anterior approach total hip replacement offered a smaller incision and shorter recovery, no one near Billy's home in Lake Norman, N.C., was utilizing the technique. Or so he thought.

Fortunately for Billy and other patients facing a total hip replacement, James "Chip" Comadoll, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Novant Health Pinnacle Orthopedics, is a leader in anterior approach total hip replacement who has been performing the procedure at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center for nearly three years.

The anterior approach total hip replacement uses a less invasive technique to access the hip joint from the front, allowing for a smaller incision that doesn't require the hip muscle to be detached from the femur or pelvis. That means minimal pain and a much faster return to normal activities, including sitting in a chair and walking up and down stairs.

Billy knows the anterior approach works. After watching his brother recuperate from a total hip replacement 10 years ago, Billy anticipated a long, painful recovery. Instead, he has been impressed at how quickly he healed. Not only was he up and walking hours after his right hip surgery, but he also returned to work as a commercial airline pilot after just five weeks.

"I am completely pain free and have been since three months after the surgery," Billy says. "In fact, I remember going in for my six month check-up and telling Dr. Comadoll that I had been water skiing. The recovery process was just phenomenal."

Billy's recovery has been so easy that he has no doubts about having to undergo the anterior approach again sometime in the future – this time on his left hip.