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Michael Savoie has a modest claim to fame among the more than 300,000 Americans who will have hip replacement surgery this year.

The retired LA County deputy sheriff received the first same-day hip replacement ever done in the Santa Clarita Valley.

“When I told friends about it, their reaction was, ‘Hey, wait a second, did you say same day?’” Savoie said.

Health care providers are seeking a competitive advantage by shortening or eliminating hospital stays, which reduces the risk of infection, reduces costs, and boost patient satisfaction.

Orthopedic surgeon Alon Antebi

With hip replacement, or arthroplasty, a key difference that eliminates the need for a hospital stay “is going in from the front,” said orthopedic surgeon Alon Antebi, D.O., who performed the procedure Dec. 22 at Providence Summit Surgical Center in Valencia.

“The traditional method is to cut through the gluteus maximus, the butt muscle, then through three or four tendons,” Antebi said. The front, or anterior, approach, instead allows the surgeon to go in between muscles. “The anterior approach is the shortest route, and cuts the least amount of tissue,” he said.

In addition to working with Providence, Antebi, who has replaced several thousand hip joints, is on staff at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. He is chief of the orthopedic department at Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster and chief of the Joint Program at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital in Ridgecrest.

Hip replacement surgery is intended to restore a patient’s range of motion and relieve pain, most often from arthritis. The surgeon removes the patient’s worn out ball and socket joint and replaces the joint with one made of an artificial socket.

The first same-day outpatient hip replacement was performed at New York University in 2015. The procedure is growing in popularity, though it’s not for everyone. “This procedure is appropriate as long as you have a native or virgin hip,” Antebi said. “It’s not for those having an artificial hip replaced with a new one.”

Most commercial insurers cover the same-day procedure, but so far, Medicare does not.

Antebi uses a special surgical “Hana table,” that provides more direct access to the patient and the ability to reposition the patient during surgery. Every facility he operates at has bought the table, which costs $70,000 to $120,000. The table is radiolucent, rendering it invisible to X-rays.

The first ambulatory surgical center opened in 1970. Today, there are more than 5,300 Medicare-certified centers in the United States, according to the Ambulatory Surgery Center Association in Alexandria, Va.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 332,000 Americans have total hip replacements in the United States each year.

For Savoie, who lives in Acton, recovery can’t come fast enough. A self-described active guy, he’s had operations on both knees, and now has a new left hip.

“I wanted the recovery to go faster,” he said. “I’ve got several acres of land with horses and chickens and dogs, and I want to get back outside.”

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Patrick Mullen
After growing up in Syracuse, N.Y., and living in Cleveland for two decades, Patrick Mullen is enjoying Southern California’s weather, even with the rain. He covered the health care industry for 15 years, with a focus on managed care.
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