Hip replacement surgery has become a relatively common procedure in the United States, and one that stands to become more common as the population ages.
Direct anterior hip replacement is a surgical approach and technique that is less invasive than the traditional posterior approach, making it the preferred alternative for many of our patients at Orange Orthopaedic Associates.
With anterior hip replacement, we access the joint through an incision on the front of the hip instead of the back (or posterior). Understanding the relative advantages of the anterior approach will help you feel more confident about your surgery.
Our board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, James M. Lee Jr., MD, is skilled in both posterior and anterior hip replacement surgeries. In this post, we explain seven key benefits of the anterior approach to hip joint replacement.
The incisions that we use in anterior hip replacement surgery aren’t just in a different position compared with posterior hip replacement. They’re smaller, too.
Smaller incisions are typically associated with less bleeding, lower risk of infection, and faster recovery times, as well as smaller scars.
Less tissue damage
In posterior hip replacement surgery, we must cut through major muscles or detach tendons from bones. Anterior hip replacement surgery is considered a tissue-sparing surgery, because it allows us to access the hip joint by moving muscles aside, rather than cutting through them.
Less tissue damage during surgery means less swelling and pain afterward, and it also helps you heal and recover faster.
Reduced risk of dislocation
Because it spares muscle tissue instead of compromising it, anterior hip replacement surgery is also associated with a lower risk of dislocation during recovery. Because muscles and other tissues are relatively undisturbed, your hip has better natural support while the area recovers.
Less postoperative discomfort
Smaller incisions and muscle-sparing techniques lead to less discomfort during the postop period and throughout your recovery. As an added benefit, less pain helps you play a more active role in your physical therapy program, and it also means you’ll need less pain medication.
Shorter hospital stay
Because anterior hip replacement is less invasive than posterior hip replacement surgery, many of our patients are able to leave the hospital more quickly.
The less invasive nature of anterior hip replacement helps you heal more quickly, while also reducing the risk of complications that can lead to longer stays. That means you can spend more time healing in the comfort of your own home.
Faster recovery time
Less tissue damage leads to faster healing and recovery times for many patients, along with a quicker restoration of normal hip function. Since swelling is minimized, you’re able to begin therapy and rehabilitation sooner.
As a result, you can begin to get back to your regular activities more quickly and with less discomfort.
Improved range of motion
Finally, by avoiding cutting through major muscle, anterior hip replacement surgery supports a full range of movement and greater stability for your hip joint. Those features are especially important during the early stages of recovery, and they can affect your everyday activities and your overall long-term quality of life.
Although direct anterior hip replacement offers significant advantages, it’s not the best choice for every patient. Dr. Lee performs a thorough exam and evaluation to determine the better approach based on your anatomy, lifestyle, and needs.
To learn more about hip replacement surgery including both the anterior and posterior approaches, book an appointment online or by calling our office in West Orange or Bayonne, New Jersey.