Hip surgery: The example of Guy Carbonneau

Guy_CarbonneauSuffering from osteoarthritis of the hips, did you know that Guy Carbonneau underwent an operation at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont thanks to an innovative protocol? Read the inside story of this orthopedic revolution!

A patient and surgery like no other

Indeed, former Montreal Canadiens coach and player Guy Carbonneau suffered from osteoarthritis of the hips. He chose to undergo surgery at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, where he benefited from an innovative joint replacement, pioneered by Drs. Martin Lavigne, Alain Roy, and Pascal-André Vendittoli in Canada. This advance was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont Foundation and its generous donors.

The innovative surgery was the subject of a report on the TV show Découverte (in French only), on Radio-Canada television.

What is osteoarthritis of the hip?

Caused by thinning of the cartilage between the hip and the femur, osteoarthritis of the hip requires joint replacement. Otherwise, the bones come into contact with each other, causing inflammation and severe pain.

Depending on lifestyle, early wear and tear of the joint can be seen as early as the age of 30.

Usually, this wear is caused by:

  • Normal wear and tear of the joint.
  • Overtraining (extreme sport, elite level, etc.).
  • Working in physically demanding jobs.

The problem of patients who are too young

As he was wrapping up his career as a National League player, Guy Carbonneau suffered from osteoarthritis of the hip.

Specialists he sees advise him to wait until age 65 to be eligible for hip replacement surgery.

Doctors were reluctant to operate on young patients because they would wear out their prosthesis prematurely over a period of 10 to 15 years.Dr. Pascal André Vendittoli, orthopedic surgeon at HMR

Indeed, traditional prostheses had drawbacks such as

  • Durability: an active patient could wear out his implant prematurely.
  • Limitation of movements: crouching or crossing your legs could cause hip dislocation.

Dr. Pascal André Vendittoli

An innovative practice at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont

Fortunately for Guy Carbonneau, after several unsuccessful treatments, notably in the United States, it was suggested that he meet the team of orthopedic surgeons at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont, comprising Doctors Lavigne, Roy, and Vendittoli. All three are still surgeons at the HMR.

They were among the first in North America to implant these high-tech hip prostheses in younger patients.

How is Guy Carbonneau‘s prosthesis, with its large diameter joint and friction surfaces without polyethylene, different from the old models? Its size, more faithful to that of the patient’s femur, offers unlimited range of motion. In addition, the materials that compose it, an alloy of chromium and cobalt, offer greater durability.


Maxera prosthesis with anatomically sized ceramic joints..

What about hip prostheses today?

 The use of prostheses with anatomical head presented in the TV coverage is still favored by orthopedic surgeons at the HMR.

However, since 2011, the friction surfaces have evolved. Now they are made of ceramic. This material is even more durable than chrome-cobalt (metal) and does not release metal particles into the body. They are much better tolerated by the human body in the long term.

Over the past 10 years, more than 3,500 such prostheses have been implanted by the HMR team in young and active patients! The Hospital is also the centre with the greatest expertise in this technology in the world and its surgeons are practically the only ones to use this method in North America.

Hip replacement in day surgery

Innovation didn’t stop at that! In addition to offering hip replacement surgeries to young patients for years, Dr. Vendittoli implemented an innovative protocol in 2016 allowing patients to undergo this procedure as a “day surgery”. This method, developed at the HMR, was presented by Dr. Vendittoli at various conferences and is now adopted by surgeons everywhere, highlighting Montrealers’ know-how within Canada and internationally.

> Read La Presse’s article (in French only)

Innovation is moving forward at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont

The medicine of tomorrow is taking shape at the HMR, as can be seen from reading this article and many others. For many years, researchers, doctors, and surgeons have been busy developing the best techniques and treating patients with the latest technology.

It is thanks to committed and generous people like you that we advance science. Contribute to the medicine of tomorrow by donating now. Thank you for being a source of healing!

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About Guy Carbonneau

Guy Carbonneau won three Stanley Cups as a hockey player, in 1986 and 1993 with the Montreal Canadiens, and in 1999 while playing with the Dallas Stars. He then coached the Canadiens from 2006 to 2009.

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