Tonawanda News

October 6, 2013

Memorial adds hip replacement equipment

By Danielle Haynes
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — When it comes to a traditional hip replacement surgery, it’s not necessarily the replaced bone that causes so much pain and recovery time for patients, it’s the layers of posterior muscle surgeons must cut through to get to said bone.

That’s why orthopaedic surgeon Dr. Nicholas Violante, 33, was so eager for Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center to purchase its new $115,000 Hana table.

The table allows surgeons to situate the patient in such a way so that the surgical incision can be made from the anterior — or front — position, reducing the amount of muscle that will be impacted by the procedure, Violante explained.

Using the Hana table, “the patient’s legs are suspended independently, and it therefore allows me to position the leg in an extended and rotated position in order to” allow the anterior approach, he said.

Violante, 33, has been performing hip-replacement surgeries using the Hana table at Erie County Medical Center for more than nine months and said he’s so far been amazed at the results. He’s done more than 500 traditional-approach hip replacements and 60 using the Hana table. He said the patients for whom he’s used the table have had a much faster recovery time.

”I’ve now had probably more than 10 patients that have walked into my office two weeks post operatively without any assistant devices (like canes or walkers), which is something I’ve never seen before,” Violante said. “I’m amazed.”

John Northrup, 68, of Ellicotville, had his hip-replacement surgery done at ECMC before Memorial purchased its table and said he spent about two weeks using a cane after his surgery and was back to limited golfing within four to five weeks.

Prior to his hip replacement, Northrup said he had a limited range of motion in his hip from a motorcycle accident 28 years ago. As time went on it became more and more disabling.

”I never really had pain (after the surgery) other than the bone pain,” Northrup said, adding that he healed so well he didn’t even need physical therapy afterwards. “I could walk pretty quickly after surgery. I couldn’t ask for a better deal.”

Now he plans to go forward with a planned skiing trip this winter with no complication.

Joseph Gariano, 58, of Lewiston, had his surgery at Memorial a few weeks ago and within hours after the procedure, he was up and about testing his new hip on a walker.

”I told the doctor I feel like I haven’t even had surgery yet,” Gariano said. “I walked the whole length of the hospital ... he was kind of shocked.”

Prior to the surgery, Gariano said it felt like his leg was hanging on by just a ligament after years of suffering with arthritis in his hip. Now he feels “like a million dollars.”

”I can’t believe I was so scared (of surgery) and put up with all that pain for so long,” Gariano mused.

Gariano said he’s not sure he would’ve had the surgery had Memorial not had the equipment to do the less invasive procedure because the threat of pain worried him.

”Staying right in my hometown added to the comfort of the surgery. I think it’s a great thing because I would have had to go to ECMC,” he said.

And it’s not just pain and recovery time that the Hana table helps reduce, Violante said.

”It helps eliminate a lot of variables. You have a lower chance of dislocation because you’re going through the front ... you normally can’t access the femur from the front,” he said.

For more information about hip replacements using the Hana table, visit or call Excelsior Orthopaedics — where Violante practices — at 250-9999.

Contact Sunday Lifestyle editor Danielle Haynes at 693-1000, ext. 4116 or follow her on Twitter at @DanielleHaynes1.