The Anterior Approach for total hip replacement is a novel alternative to traditional hip replacement. It has potential for less post-operative pain, shorter hospitalization and quicker recovery because the surgeon works between muscles without detaching or injuring them. Having the muscles intact may also help prevent dislocations.
The surgery is performed through a 4 to 5 inch incision in the front of the thigh using a specialized table designed specifically for the Anterior Surgery. Since the incision is on the front of the thigh when you sit or lie down there is no pressure on the surgical site thus giving you more comfort from the very beginning. In most situations the patient is up and walking, with a walker, 6-8 hours after surgery with discharge to home the next day.
- Possible accelerated recovery time because key muscles are not detached during the operation. (Some other procedures require cutting important muscles at the side or back of the hip). The Anterior Approach is known as a “tissue sparing” procedure because it avoids cutting these key muscles and tissues therefore minimizing damage.
- Potential for fewer restrictions during the early and late recovery. The risk of dislocation of the hip joint is less with the Anterior Approach.
- Possible reduced scarring because the technique is done through a relatively small incision without damaging the muscle.
- Likely, a shorter hospital stay following surgery with the Anterior Approach.
As with any hip surgery, there is a risk of excessive blood loss, damage to nerves and arteries, infection, intraoperative fracture, limb length inequality and other risks associated with any major surgery.
Certain patients, with osteoporotic bone, hip deformity, either congenital or from previous surgery may not be candidates for an anterior hip replacement. In this situation a conventional posterior approach may be recommended.