Anterior Hip Replacement: Why Consider It?

Anterior hip replacement is one of the newest advances in hip replacement surgery. An incredibly safe and effective procedure, much of the recent advancements in total hip replacement involve a quicker route to rehabilitation. At OrthoNebraska, we believe patients should be out of bed within two hours of surgery and home as quickly as possible. Research has shown that sending people home results in higher patient satisfaction and lower infection rates.

The posterior approach involves an incision along the buttocks. It has been the traditional surgical method for total hip replacements for many years, and involves accessing the hip joint by cutting the buttocks muscle. It is a very safe and effective approach with years of good clinical results.

More recently, the anterior approach has emerged as a minimally-invasive option for total hip replacement. It involves a small, four-inch incision along the front leg. It offers a more direct approach to the hip joint, as muscles are separated rather than cut, leaving them more or less intact. I was able to perfect the nuances of this approach during a one-year fellowship.

I prefer to use this minimally-invasive approach whenever I am sure it will give my patients the best outcome for the following reasons:

  • Less Major Muscle Damage: By preserving the muscles, there is less tissue damage and pain.
  • Less Risk of Hip Dislocation: Dislocation can occur with any surgical approach. However, by leaving surrounding muscles intact, your total hip replacement is more stable and less likely to dislocate. In addition, there are few to no precautions to prevent dislocation after an anterior approach.
  • Accelerated Recovery: You will be walking within hours after surgery. There is actually less pain when walking early because your major muscles are less affected. Therefore, you will also be able to return to your preferred activities faster.
  • No precautions: You have less to worry about in terms of complications. Avoiding certain body positions is no longer a concern.

Of course, with any surgery, there are risks of complication. Specific to this procedure, those include thigh numbness and fractures. The most common of the uncommon side effects is potential numbness on the outside of the thigh. Even if this does occur, it will go away within the first year after surgery. There is a small risk for fracture during surgery, particularly if you have osteoporosis. A highly specialized table and careful surgical technique helps minimize that risk. When discussing surgical approaches, we will always proceed with the safest and most effective approach to give our patients the best outcome.

OrthoNebraska is a high-volume facility for joint replacement, with lower complication rates than most other hospitals in the area. To make an appointment with me, you can call (402) 609-3000.

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