During more traditional approaches to hip surgery, surgeons cut and remove the damaged cartilage and bone, and replace it with a prosthesis through an incision in the back (posterior) or the side (lateral) of the hip, explained Dr. Jonathan Berliner, a joint replacement specialist at Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists who performs the minimally-invasive surgery. During these procedures, muscles need to be cut or detached to gain access to the surgical area. However, through the anterior approach surgeons can enter through the hip's front and repair the joint through the natural gaps between muscles. This precision helps minimize injury to the soft tissue in the area.
“Since there is less disruption to the muscles and tendons, patients tend to recover hip function and gait mechanics more quickly and with less pain,” said Berliner. The risk of hip dislocation, a concern after total hip replacement surgeries, is decreased because the muscles and soft tissue structures that normally hold the hip joint in place remain intact. Patient hospital stays are also generally shorter with the anterior approach.
Surgeons have been using an anterior approach to other hip surgeries for some time, but anterior hip replacement has only recently gained increased attention, noted Berliner. It's estimated that only 15 to 20 percent of hip replacement surgeries performed in the United States utilize this approach. Moreover, not all joint replacement surgeons have undergone the training required to perform this technically challenging procedure, which offers a limited view of the operating site and leaves little room for error.
ONS, which offers patients this anterior approach to hip replacement, has offices in Greenwich and Stamford, Conn. and Harrison, N.Y. For more information about anterior hip replacement or to make an appointment, call 203-869-1145 or click here.