Read Virginia's Story

Virginia Dayton

Virginia Dayton of Braselton now enjoys long walks with her dog, Cindel, after undergoing anterior approach hip replacement at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

"This was the easiest surgery I’ve ever had."

This is the compliment Braselton resident Virginia Dayton gives to the anterior approach hip replacement procedure she underwent in November 2010 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) in Gainesville.

After suffering for years with hip pain, Virginia was hesitant to go through a joint replacement surgery after undergoing knee replacement surgery several years earlier.

"I had knee replacement in 2001, and that was the worst experience I have ever gone through," she says. "When I started having hip trouble, I put off surgery as long as I could.

"After a terrible weekend, I was ready to set up surgery with another doctor when I ran across the article about Dr. DeCook and the anterior approach technique for hip replacement at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. I called on Monday morning and set up an appointment. After meeting with him, there were never any second thoughts about him doing my surgery."

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.

For Virginia, the results were immediate.

"I was walking a couple hours after coming to my room after surgery," she says. "I had a physical therapy visit that afternoon and went home the next morning. Plus, I took virtually no pain medication – two pills in the hospital and one after I went home – I just didn’t need it."

Others were awed by Virginia’s outcome as well.

"My home health team had never heard about this surgery, and they were all amazed at my progress," she says. "Three weeks after surgery, I was driving and doing whatever I wanted to do."

Now, Virginia enjoys long walks with her dog, Cindel, whereas before, she could only walk for about four to five minutes. She credits Dr. DeCook with her success.

"I thank God that Dr. DeCook came to Gainesville. He will make life so much better for a lot of people."

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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