Anterior hip replacement surgery is a medical procedure of replacing the hip joint with a prosthetic implant (hip prosthesis) with minimal disruption and invasiveness to the body. In contrast to other hip-joint replacement surgery techniques, the anterior approach intrudes less on the surrounding muscles using smaller incisions and less dissection of soft-tissues. With this method, a faster recovery is expected. Anterior hip replacement is a viable alternative to the traditional posterior approach.
How is Anterior Hip Replacement Different?
There are different methods of hip replacement depending on the approach to the hip joint, which is located at the intersection of the thigh bone and pelvis. These include approaching the hip from the back of the joint (posterior approach), from the side (lateral or anterolateral approach), or from the front (anterior approach).
The hip joint is held in place by muscles, ligaments, and tendons. To get to the ball and socket of the hip joint, the surgeon has to weave through these connectors and muscle tissue. This action is where the anterior hip replacement reigns superior. Instead of detaching and then re-attaching muscles, the anterior hip replacement approach accesses the hip in the space between two muscles (muscle-splitting). Since the muscle doesn’t have to heal from being cut, the patient recuperates faster. The incisions made are also comparatively small to the posterior approach.
Is the Anterior Approach Better?
In comparison to other techniques, the anterior hip replacement is believed to have the following advantages:
- Reduced muscular damage. As mentioned above, it avoids detaching or cutting through muscle fibers.
- Faster recovery. With less pain after operations, patients heal faster, walk sooner, and leave the hospital earlier.
- Fewer post-surgical hip dislocation incidences. With less tampering of the muscles during surgery, patients' hips are generally stronger and less susceptible to dislodgments.
There are however a few setbacks with the anterior hip replacement:
- Technically demanding. The procedure is more challenging in comparison to other approaches. Finding a well-qualified, experienced surgeon is essential.
- Normal surgical risks. All normal risks of hip replacement surgery, such as nerve damage, infection, etc, are the same as in any other approach to hip joint replacement.