Sentara offers new hip procedure in Suffolk

Published 11:30 pm Saturday, October 29, 2011

Surgeons at Sentara Obici Hospital now are offering a new hip replacement procedure that hasn’t been offered in Western Tidewater before.

The direct anterior approach hip replacement is a new approach to the orthopedic procedure. The health system is offering talks this week to get potential patients and other interested people more acquainted with the process.

Dr. Anthony Bevilacqua, an orthopedic surgeon, started using this approach at his practice, Sports Medicine and Orthopaedic Center, this year. So far, he said, he thinks it’s an improvement from other hip replacement procedures.

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“It is an upgrade from what has been offered for the past 60 years,” he said.

The main difference between the direct anterior approach and other methods, Bevilacqua said, is that the new way doesn’t require the surgeon to release the muscle from the bone.

Although separating the muscle and bone doesn’t present problems in the surgery very often, he said, it is still a good thing to not have to do it because it can prolong the patient’s recovery time.

Additionally, he said, the direct anterior method allows for a smaller incision and for greater accuracy.

Bevilacqua also said not as many restrictions apply to patients who receive the new procedure.

“Many restrictions that we would have on patients for six to eight weeks after surgery no longer apply,” he said.

Bevilacqua started using the procedure in his practice in June, but he began studying the method in April.

While he believes it is too early to tell if this procedure actually helps cut down on recovery time, he said, some of his patients who have undergone the procedure are doing well and having early recoveries.

“I’m excited with the early results,” he said. However, he stressed that patients will still have recovery to undergo.

“It’s still a hip replacement it’s just looking at it in a different way,” he said.

To provide more information on the new method, Bevilacqua along with two other surgeons, Dr. Aaron Marlo and Dr. Jeffrey Persons, will hold talks on the procedure at Sentara St. Luke’s on Nov. 2 and at Sentara Obici on Nov. 7.

“Those talks are designed to answer questions to the public about why we think it’s better,” Bevilacqua said.

Being considered for the new procedure depends on a number of factors, Bevilacqua said, including the stiffness of your hip and the shape you are in.

While many people think hip replacements are only done on very old people, the surgeon said, a lot of young, active people are opting for the surgery.

He said younger people are getting arthritis in their hips sooner when they are very active.

“We do that operation on 40- to 90-year-olds,” Bevilacqua said.

To register for the talks on the new procedure, visit