ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (CBS4) – More than 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States. Swedish Medical Center in Englewood is one of the first hospitals in the country and the only one in Colorado to offer an innovative new technique.

The surgeon says, with this approach, you could be walking out of the hospital hours after the operation.

(credit: CBS)

Lori Meyer of Highlands Ranch is thrilled with her results. Lori walks her dog, Dee Dee, for 30 minutes twice a day. When she’s fostering other pups for Douglas County Canine Rescue, she’s on the move even more. She couldn’t have done it a year ago.

“It was hard to walk,” Lori said. “It was just like a burning pain and it was constant pain.”

Osteoarthritis had worn away the cartilage in Lori’s right hip.

“It was just bone on bone,” she told CBS 4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh. “I got sick of taking Advil every day.”

The 56-year-old turned to Dr. Joseph Assini, orthopedic surgeon with OrthoOne at Swedish Medical Center.

Dr. Joseph Assini (credit: CBS)

He developed a new technique with 5 other surgeons called anterior PATH.

“PATH stands for portal assisted total hip,” Assini explained.

The surgery is done from the front. But, in this approach, the small incision is ‘bikini’ type within the skinfold of the hip.

“It has a faster healing because it is in line with the actual natural lines of healing of the skin,” Assini said.

The 3-to-4 inch incision in that location can work because a cannula, or hollow tube, inserted on the side of the thigh, aids in preparation of the socket and placement of the artificial joint.

“This is kind of essentially a workhorse to allow us to put the instruments in and out without having to damage any tissue,” said Assini.

Lori Meyer (credit: CBS)

Lori had her surgery in August. It was under two hours. She was home that day and walking with a walker.

“But I could walk up the stairs without anything,” Lori said.

Now, the only reminder is a 2 and a half inch scar.

“Just back to normal,” she said. “It’s amazing.”

Lori is out of pain. Dee Dee keeps her on the move.