THE DOCTOR IS IN: Meet Dr. Douglas J. Roger
Dr. Douglas J. Roger, orthopedic surgeon at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs, California, is a pioneer of Direct Superior Approach minimally invasive joint replacement surgery, Dr. Roger is a nationally renowned industry leader in one of the most successful procedures that has renewed the lives of thousands over his peer-distinguished 30-year career. He leads a team of scientists and surgeons who are researching and developing less-invasive surgical techniques for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. This team has submitted their research to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery (AAOS) as well as other leading academic groups.
1. How did your interest develop in minimally invasive hip replacement surgery?
When I first learned to do hip replacement surgery twenty-five years ago, patients were routinely in the hospital for two weeks or more. The patients had a lot of pain and were on crutches for long periods of time and overall it took a long time to recover. I became interest in developing ways to help patients get better faster after hip replacement surgery. Twenty-five years of research has led to today’s minimally invasive approach, the Direct Superior.
2. Is it easier to recover from hip replacement surgery now than it was 25 years ago?
There is no doubt that with the advances in surgical techniques and pain management protocols, it is much easier to recover from hip replacement surgery now than it was 25 years ago. In the past, patients could be in the hospital for up to two weeks, now most patients now can leave the hospital within 24 hours of hip replacement surgery and have much less pain.
3. What rehabilitation strategies do you employ following hip replacement surgery?
Our rehabilitation protocol is geared towards getting the patients back on their feet and as independent as possible following hip replacement surgery. This process begins in the pre-operative period, continues though the surgical operation and is then followed by specific rehabilitation techniques, which are used by our physical therapists and nurses in the Joint Spine Pavilion at Desert Regional Medical Center.
4. How long until your patients can return to work?
Most patients can return to work two to three weeks after hip replacement surgery. For patients that have physically demanding jobs, this time period can be a bit longer.
5. How long are your patients in the hospital?
Most of our patients are able to go home in less than twenty-four hours following hip replacement surgery. Patients have a much shorter stay following these minimally invasive procedures than they use to when more traditional surgical techniques were employed. There is a lot less muscle damage during my procedure so recovery tends to be much faster.
6. Do your patients go to rehabilitation facilities after hip replacement surgery?
More than 90% of patients do not require rehabilitation facilities following hip replacement surgery. This is because our program is designed to help patients to become independent and self-reliant as quickly as possible after a hip replacement procedure.
7. Why do your patients have less pain now compared with 20 years ago?
Patients have less pain now because of advances in surgical technique and multimodal pain management. Multimodal pain management uses techniques that help prevent pain from occurring rather than simply treating the pain after it has occurred.
8. Are there better instruments now for performing hip replacement surgery?
Yes, there are better instruments that were designed to help achieve minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. These instruments help achieve less soft-tissue trauma, less pain and faster recovery.
In the past the human body had to be operated on in a way to accommodate the surgical instruments necessary for a hip replacement. I have developed and patented surgical instruments that were designed to accommodate the body in an effort to make a hip replacement far less invasive.
9. How can other surgeons keep up with technological advances in hip replacement surgery?
We encourage surgeons to come and learn our techniques for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery. We have a program for visiting Orthopedic Surgeons who currently come from all over the country to learn the Direct Superior Approach.
10. Is hip replacement surgery “less invasive” now than it used to be?
Hip replacement surgery is much less invasive now that it use to be. A recent scientific study evaluating the Direct Superior Approach to the hip showed much less muscle damage than other surgical techniques that were evaluated.