Read Clara's Story

Clara Sneed

Clara Sneed’s hip pain is gone after undergoing anterior approach hip replacement at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. She now can play in the floor with her grandson, Nate, without pain.

Clara Sneed suffered with arthritis pain in her left hip for almost three years before finally undergoing anterior approach hip replacement surgery at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) in October 2010.

Prior to moving to Hiram, Ga., last summer, Clara had lived in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where her orthopedic surgeon there had told her she was a good candidate for hip replacement. But Clara had refused, deciding she would rather just live with the pain.

However, after hearing about the anterior approach technique, Clara and her daughter and daughter-in-law did some research, and Clara quickly decided this would a good option for her.

Anterior approach is an advanced surgical technique in which an incision is made in the front of the hip rather than the side or back of the hip. The procedure is performed at NGMC by Charlie DeCook, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon with Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine at The Longstreet Clinic who is fellowship trained in total joint replacement. Dr. DeCook is one of only nine orthpaedic surgeons in Georgia offering this innovative surgery.

"Going from the front is less invasive and less damaging to the surrounding muscle and hip joint," says Dr. DeCook. "As a result, patients are in less pain, recover quicker and leave the hospital sooner. In fact, most patients are walking within hours of having the procedure, and the majority go home the following day."

Other benefits include fewer restrictions after surgery, decreased risk of dislocation, smaller incision and more accurate leg length.

The surgery is performed on a customized operating table called a HANA arthroplasty table. The HANA table has the capability to minimize trauma to muscles and tissues by allowing for precise placement of the leg in such a way that muscles do not have to be cut. Northeast Georgia Medical Center is one of only five hospitals in Georgia with a HANA arthroplasty table.

Clara’s outcomes were excellent.

"From day one, I could put my left foot on the floor with no pain – I had almost instant relief from the pain I had suffered from for almost three years," she says.

Her therapists were amazed with her progress.

"When my physical therapist came to see me on the first day, and I was walking, she just stared at me. She asked me about my discharge instructions regarding hip precautions, and I told her I hadn’t received any – I didn’t need them!"

Within two weeks, Clara was back to her normal activities, plus enjoying things that had been much harder for her before surgery. A semi-retired school teacher, Clara still substitutes often in the classroom and is now able to bend and squat at students’ desks without pain. She also is able to carry her grandchildren, something that was nearly impossible for her before.

"If I had known I would have this much relief, and recover from surgery this easily, I would have done this two years ago," she says. "I just thank my lucky stars that I found Dr. DeCook."

Dr. DeCook sees patients at The Longstreet Clinic’s offices in Gainesville and Braselton. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 770-532-7092 or visit

Click here to learn more about anterior approach hip replacement

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