Skip to main content

Surgeon performs first anterior hip replacement procedure in history of hospital

MARCH 27, 2024, DUNKIRK, NY — Dr. Ryan Shephard, a new-to-the-area orthopedic surgeon has performed the first anterior total hip replacement at Brooks Hospital — an achievement which marks the first availability of the procedure not only in 125 years of Brooks’ history, but also in Chautauqua County.

“I’m just happy and excited about being able to advance surgical care for the people of Chautauqua County and surrounding communities,” said Shephard, who came to Brooks-TLC in February through Brooks’ association with Lake Erie Medical Services, PC (LEMS).

Anterior hip replacement, also known as Direct Anterior Approach, is a minimally invasive surgery to replace a damaged hip while avoiding nearby muscles and tendons. Regarded as among the most valued developments in the history of orthopedics, anterior hip replacement is a surgical technique in which the hip joint is accessed through the front of the leg instead of the back. The technique is for eligible patients who want less pain and a quicker recovery from surgery. The majority of patients can get a new hip in the morning and get home before the end of the same day. Shephard believes this is the first same day home hip replacement in the County.

Not all hip surgeons perform the anterior approach, which is technically demanding, but for Shephard, who has been performing total hip replacement using this technique for about 14 years, it’s the reason he specialized in the first place. The anterior technique is readily available in bigger cities but not in rural communities, making its availability some 30 miles south of Buffalo even more historic. “It’s the first same day home hip replacement in Chautauqua County, that I know of,” Shephard noted.

According to Shephard, the patient arrived from Jamestown the morning of his surgery   in visible pain, and walked with great difficulty.  The actual procedure took about one hour. Following observation and recovery, the patient “woke up and hip pain was already 80-plus percent improved from when he walked in.”

The patient left Brooks’ nursing unit shortly after 2 p.m. with the assistance of a walker, which he handily picked up and carried from the elevator exit to the front door of the hospital. “The hospital is where you get fixed.” Shephard commented, “Home is where you get better.”

Shephard and his new colleague, Dr. Sunil Kukreja, a second orthopedic surgeon (with a specialty in pediatric and adult spine) to arrive at Brooks via LEMS in recent weeks, were recruited to help build Brooks’ new orthopedic program and provide advanced services and techniques to the rural communities Brooks serves.

Surgical Team: l to r Katelynn Spunagle, Tara Walrod, Lisa Barone, Dale Masi, Dr. Ryan Shephard, Olivia Burgess, Carrie Fearman, Jessica Begier, Raul Rosado and Jamie Ullmark.

“We are excited that Dr. Shephard and Dr. Kukreja are on board and are sharing their skills and experience with our community,” said Ken Morris, Brooks-TLC’s president and chief executive officer. “It’s an amazing thing to be able to offer our community choice and big-city-level expertise, right here. We are fortunate to have providers such as these embrace our commitment to care and the community. Our commitment to recruit and expand care options continues to keep care close to home.”

About Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc.

The Brooks-TLC Hospital System consists of a 65-bed general medical/surgical community hospital, Gowanda Urgent Care and Medical Center, plus two outpatient substance use disorder clinics and an offsite laboratory blood draw location in Fredonia. Brooks Memorial Hospital features women’s health services – including state-of-the-art digital 3D mammography, ultrasound – orthopedic specialty, physical therapy, diagnostic imaging, ambulatory imaging, ambulatory surgery, emergency medical department – including fast-track process and quick-turnaround laboratory services, and primary and urgent care.

For more information, visit our website:

You can also find us on social media at: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn