What is an anterior hip replacement?
Anterior hip replacement surgery is a total hip replacement surgery in which the diseased joint is removed through an anterior (front) incision as opposed to a posterior (back) approach. During an anterior hip replacement the patient is on his or her back (supine) rather than on his or her side. Special anterior hip replacement instruments allow the surgeon to see down the femur, or thigh bone, which allows for accurate placement of the metal prosthesis.
The anterior approach is a “muscle sparing” operation in that the surgeon moves muscles of the hip rather than cutting muscle. This may have several advantages. Because the muscle is not cut or traumatized, the patients recover faster, and the hips may be more stable and less prone to dislocation.
A recent peer- reviewed study from the Rothman Institute in Philadelphia showed that the patients who underwent anterior hip replacement surgery recovered faster and had fewer complications than patients who underwent the standard posterior approach (an approach behind the hip joint).
Our own research at the Minimally Invasive Surgery Center for Hip and Knee Replacement at George Washington University found that there was less muscle damage in the anterior hip replacement compared to posterior surgery. This study was recently presented at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons meeting by Dr. Unger.
A study done by Dr. McArthur during his time at the Mayo Clinic highlights some of the advantages of utilizing x-ray guidance for component positioning during anterior total hip replacement. This study was recently presented at the Mid-American Orthopedic Association meeting by Dr. McArthur.
Am I a good candidate for anterior hip replacement surgery?
Ideal candidates should be:
- In good health
- In good shape
- Free of excessive fat tissue or muscle bulk in the anterior thigh
What are the benefits of anterior hip replacement?
Anterior hip replacement may provide the following benefits in some patients:
- Faster recovery process, i.e, driving in 2 weeks, sleeping on operative side in 4 weeks, returning to normal activities in 12 weeks
- May improve the ability of the surgeon to equalize the leg lengths
- May improve the stability of the implant, reducing the need for protective “precautions” in the immediate post-operative period
What can I expect from anterior hip replacement surgery?
You can expect the following from an anterior hip replacement surgery:
- A complete pre-operative workup that will focus on preparing your for your anterior hip replacement
- One to two hour surgery time
- One to three days in the hospital or a 23 hour stay at our outpatient surgical center
- A comprehensive pain management protocol and reduced dependence on pain medication day by day
- Gait training and walking as physical therapy