Nov. 18 - Swiss motion capture specialists have joined forces with a surgeon to provide the first scientific guidelines for hip transplant patients wanting safe, pain-free sex. Post-operative intercourse for people who've undergone hip replacement surgery can be stressful and risky but, for at least one patient, the guidelines are putting the joy back into sex. Jim Drury reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY OFFEND When, at the age of 27, Patricia Schallenberger needed a hip transplant, she wondered if she'd be able to resume a full and fulfilling sex life afterwards. Her surgeon Dr Panayiotis Christofilopoulos at the University Hospital of Geneva had been asked the same question by other patients many times previously, but had never been able to provide a clear answer. So, he contacted Swiss motion capture company Artanim for help. The result is the first known post-operative sex guide for hip transplant patients. Artanim recorded two volunteers performing 12 common sexual positions while wearing motion capture markers strapped to their skin. Artanim co-founder Dr Caecilia Charbonnier says finding the volunteers wasn't easy. SOUNDBITE (English) CAECILIA CHARBONNIER (PRON: Cecilia Shar-bun-yay), RESEARCH DIRECTOR OF ARTANIM FOUNDATION "Finally we found them and then we did the capture. It was one night when there was nobody in the studio, to be sure that we locked the door, so they are more comfortable with the capture station and then we did it." The volunteers' recorded motions were then applied to the motion capabilities of 3D prosthetic hip models. Analysis of the models showed sex to be slightly riskier for female patients, particularly in positions requiring extreme flexing. SOUNDBITE (English) CAECILIA CHARBONNIER (PRON: Cecilia Shar-bun-yay), RESEARCH DIRECTOR OF ARTANIM FOUNDATION "Out of the 12 sexual positions we found four positions for women that should be avoided and only two for men, so that was reasonable. That means that the patient can still have good sex after their surgery." Patricia Schallenberger says she's grateful for the guidelines. SOUNDBITE (French) PATRICIA SCHALLENBERGER, FRENCH-SWISS PATIENT, SAYING: "I had lots of questions because I didn't know what movements to avoid or not to do. The drawings and slides helped me a lot. Now it's great, I just have to be careful not to do positions that are forbidden." Dr Christofilopoulos conducts hip transplants regularly. Long aware of patients' concerns about having sex after recuperation, he says he's happy to pass on the new advice. SOUNDBITE (English) DR PANAYIOTIS CHRISTOFILOPOULOS, SAYING: "We are giving them not a true karma sutra of how to perform the sexual act but clear guidelines as to positions that they should be careful with. I believe that such a study can help a lot of patients having total hip arthroplasty today." Hip replacement surgery, also known as total hip arthroplasty, involves removing a diseased hip joint and replacing it with an artificial one. It allows patients to partake in many activities previously too painful to enjoy. Now the oldest recreational activity of all can be safely added to that list.