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Need A New Hip? Consider Anterior Hip Replacement

Evan J. Hawkins, MD, FAAOS
Evan J. Hawkins, MD, FAAOS Photo Credit: CareMount Medical

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, more than 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States.

Anterior hip replacement is a surgical procedure that involves the replacement of damaged bones in the hip joint using an artificial hip. The procedure is typically performed when arthritis is the main reason for hip replacement, but it can also be used to replace hips with any type of damage which cause pain and loss of motion of the hip.

The procedure is generally performed in one of two ways with the difference being how the hip is accessed.

In a traditional posterior approach, the incision is made on the side, or in the back of the hip and through the gluteus maximus muscle. Additional small muscles need to be released to expose the hip joint, which are then later reattached.

The anterior approach has been done for decades, but has become more popular lately because it is less invasive and generally requires less recovery time than the posterior and lateral approach of traditional hip replacements. In this procedure, an incision is made in the front of the hip. The muscles are then spread, not divided, to access the hip joint. In addition, to gain exposure to the hip joint, only one or two of the tendons that attach to the hip are usually released. It is believed that because less muscle is injured during surgery, patients may recover more quickly in the first six weeks after surgery.

Benefits of anterior hip replacement:

• Less post-operative pain;

• Less damage to major muscles;

• Shorter hospital stay;

• Faster and easier recovery;

• Fewer restrictions on activity after surgery;

• Decreased risk of hip dislocation after surgery; and

• Better range of movement.

Speak to your physician if you think you may be a candidate for hip replacement. Your physician can help guide you to the proper treatment and surgical options.

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