MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Twin Cities area is now part of an elite group in the field of hip replacement surgery.

A significantly shorter recovery time and a less invasive procedure are some of the perks of the new SuperPATH hip replacement surgery.

Results vary depending on the patient, but the one doctor in the metro who performs the procedure says patients are up and walking within a few hours of the surgery.

Kay Schmidt has been in the day care business for about 40 years. She’s also an avid walker. But last January, at a Super Bowl Party, she says she almost lost it all.

“I had to literally pull myself up the stairs by the railing,” Schmidt said.

As her condition worsened, doctors told Schmidt her she needed hip replacement surgery.

“My son said it was so hard seeing you grow old every day,” Schmidt said.

Fortunately for Schmidt, one of seven doctors in the country who can perform the SuperPATH surgery works nearby at Park Nicollet Clinic in Burnsville.

Dr. Dean Olsen says SuperPATH is different from traditional surgery because he actually builds the implant inside the body. The incision is two to three inches versus the traditional eight to 10.

The procedure also eliminates the need to tear things apart inside the leg.

“There’s no muscles or tendons tearing, and we never pop the hip out of the sockets,” Olsen said. “We never dislocate the hip.”

A lack of tearing and unnatural stretching allows most patients to be up and walking within four hours of surgery. Patients can typically walk unassisted in three to four weeks.

“After five weeks, I walked two miles with my dog,” Schmidt said.

Olsen says unlike other forms of hip replacement surgery, SuperPATH is an option for pretty much any patient.

Schmidt says the only problem she experiences is occasionally needing to switch weight off of her replacement hip while she sleeps.