NAPLES, Fla. (November 15, 2023) — Naples orthopaedic surgeon Robert J. Zehr, M.D., recently conducted his 500th outpatient total hip replacement surgery. Dr. Zehr performed Southwest Florida’s first outpatient total hip replacement on November 18, 2015, at the newly opened Seaside Surgery Center. Dr. Zehr co-founded the facility, which was the first ambulatory surgery center in Southwest Florida designed primarily for outpatient joint replacements.
Dr. Zehr pioneered the anterior approach to total hip replacement in Southwest Florida and has conducted more than 2,800 THAs (total hip arthroplasty) using the technique. “Approaching the hip joint from the front, instead of the traditional posterior approach provides four distinct benefits to patients,” Zehr explains. “Because muscle is not cut or detached from the bone in the anterior approach, there is less pain and recovery is faster; using a specialized X-ray machine (fluoroscope) allows for more accurate placement of the implant and real-time corrections; and there are no restrictions on the patient’s movement post-operatively.”
Ironically, as Dr. Zehr was performing his first outpatient THA, retired Naples interventional cardiologist Dr. Francis C. Boucek was undergoing a traditional posterior approach hip replacement in a nearby hospital. At the time, the anterior approach was still fairly new. Dr. Boucek had heard of it, he said, “But no one was doing it except Dr. Zehr.”
Fast forward eight years and it was time for Dr. Boucek to have his other hip replaced. Now armed with research and having observed a neighbor’s swift and successful recovery from outpatient hip replacement surgery with Dr. Zehr, Dr. Boucek chose the same, becoming Dr. Zehr’s 500th outpatient hip replacement patient. “I was in by 7 a.m. and home by about 3 p.m.,” he recalls, “The entire procedure was seamless.”