WHEN Les Parry had his left hip replaced 13 months ago, he benefited from his surgeon's pioneering back-to-the-front approach.

The 70-year-old retired supermarket manager underwent a Direct Anterior Approach hip replacement, carried out through the front of the pelvis, instead of from behind.

The result was a much speedier recovery, with Mr Parry able to go on an overseas golfing break just nine weeks later.

Now the procedure has won an award for Cardiff's Spire Hospital, where Mr Parry was treated by surgeon Mr Marci Maheson. The hospital scooped the medical practice award at the annual Lang Buisson Independent Healthcare Awards.

Ten years of deterioration in his left hip reached crisis point in September 2014, when Mr Parry suffered excruciating pain when returning from a holiday in Tenerife with wife Pat.

Seeking a solution to a seriously debilitating problem, he found Spire and Mr Maheson.

Mr Parry, of Ruskin Avenue, Rogerstone, a member and former captain at Tredegar Park Golf Club, was advised he was perfect for the Direct Anterior Approach, and had the operation early in December 2014.

“They told me it would speed up my recovery, but I would never have imagined how quickly I'd be up and about. If my recovery is anything to go by, no wonder it won an award," he said.

"I was cooking Christmas dinner for the family just three weeks later. It was amazing.

"I was part of a group planning to go to Majorca for golf at the start of last February, and thought I wouldn't make it, but I did."

The procedure, championed by orthopaedic surgeon Mr Maheson, results in less damage to soft tissue, muscles or nerves surrounding the hip, which in turn can reduce a patient's hospital stay by more than half, compared with a traditional replacement operation.

It also means recovery time and the need for physiotherapy is reduced in a majority of cases.

“In a ‘traditional’ operation the surgeon goes in through the buttock, meaning they have to cut through major muscles and soft tissue," said Mr Maheson.

“The Direct Anterior Approach means a much smaller incision through the front of the pelvis. I then use a natural gap between two muscles at the front of the thigh to replace the hip joint.

“When hip replacements began in the 1940s, surgeons used the anterior approach. However, over time, this technique was replaced by accessing from the side or the back.

"It is only the development of new technology, along with the introduction of smaller implants, that has allowed us to revert to the front entry.”