What is Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery?
Anterior hip replacement is a technique that can be used to achieve the same results as a traditional hip replacement procedure – to replace the worn ends of the bones in the hip joint. The difference with the anterior approach is how the surgeon opens the body to reach the hip joint.
Traditional hip surgery is a “posterior” approach, which cuts through the buttock muscles to reach the hip joint. There is also an “anterior lateral” approach that reaches the hip joint from the side of the body rather than through the buttocks.
Anterior hip surgery uses the most minimal incision, located on the front of the hip. In this approach, the surgeon is able to move the muscles aside rather than cutting through them. This creates less damage and trauma to the soft issues around the hip, allowing a quicker recovery time.
In addition, there is a lower risk of dislocating the new prosthesis when placed via the anterior approach, since the muscles used to support the hip joint remain strong.
Recovering from Anterior Hip Replacement
With an anterior approach, there’s less pain after surgery, no restrictive precautions and patients can start walking without assistance in two to three weeks, versus five or six weeks. In most cases, patients get back to their usual activities very quickly.
Is the Anterior Approach Right for You?
It is important to know that the anterior approach is not available in all communities. It requires special equipment in the operating room, and surgeons must be trained in this different approach to surgery.
Anterior approach may also not be right approach for certain patients, especially larger or more muscular patients.
A unique complication of the anterior approach is the possibility of nerve damage to a nerve in the front of the leg. This can result in ongoing numbness or tingling along the front of the leg.
If you are interested in the anterior approach, explore the option with a surgeon specially trained in this technique.