Anterior Hip Replacement

Understanding the Technique

I’ve heard about anterior and posterior hip replacement. What is the difference?

Anterior and posterior hip replacement refers to the approach that is used to perform the surgery. The term “approach” means how the surgeon gains access to the hip joint. Anterior hip replacement places the incision on the front of the hip. Posterior hip replacement places the incision on the side of the hip or the buttock. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages.

What are the advantages of anterior hip replacement?

One advantage of anterior hip replacement is rapid early recovery. Another advantage of anterior hip replacement over posterior hip replacement is a lower risk of hip dislocation. Our hip replacement surgeons specialize in anterior hip replacement and are some of the few surgeons offering this option in the region. Posterior hip replacement offers the advantage of better visualization. If prior hardware must be removed at the time of hip replacement or if there is extensive bone loss from severe arthritis, then the posterior approach may be used for this reason. Our hip replacement surgeons have extensive training using the posterior approach, and in select patients, this is the preferred option. In short, there is no ‘best’ approach. The decision between anterior or posterior hip replacement should be made between an individual patient and his or her surgeon.

Do all hip replacement surgeons use the anterior approach?

No. Not all surgeons perform anterior hip replacement. The anterior approach is technically challenging and may be aided with specialized equipment. Many surgeons who perform the anterior approach have undergone advanced training to safely and effective perform the surgery. If you are interested in anterior approach hip replacement, make sure your orthopaedic surgeon is experienced with this approach.

Will I have “hip precautions” after anterior hip replacement?

“Hip precautions” are limitations on your range of motion after hip replacement. They are used to help prevent dislocation after hip replacement. After anterior hip replacement, we generally do not use “hip precautions” because the anterior approach confers significant stability to the hip prosthesis. We recommend that you avoid extremes of motion but do not put specific restrictions on your activities.

Can anterior hip replacement be performed at an outpatient surgery center?

Yes. Because it is a muscle-sparing approach, anterior hip replacement is an excellent option for outpatient surgery.

What is the recovery after anterior hip replacement?

You will be up with a walker or crutches on the day of surgery. You will gradually wean to a cane over 2-3 weeks. At the 4 week mark our goal would be for you to be walking without assist device.

Am I a candidate for anterior hip replacement?

If you have persistent pain in the hip or groin that has been refractory to anti-inflammatory medications, then you may be a candidate for anterior hip replacement. Make an appointment today to discuss your treatment options.

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