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Why is the Anterior Approach for Total Hip Replacement Surgery Better?

Why is the Anterior Approach for Total Hip Replacement Surgery Better?

There are three surgical approaches to total hip replacement surgery.  Which is best for you?  Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina, explains the difference between anterior, posterior and lateral approaches to hip replacement surgery and why he prefers the anterior approach over the others.

Summary of video:

Why is the anterior approach for total hip replacement surgery better than other approaches? 

Using a model Dr. Albright shows how the other approaches work. The posterior approach is very common in the USA and it requires putting an incision on the back side of your hip, cutting through muscle to expose the hip. The lateral approach which is done in particularly challenging cases usually when there has been previous hip surgery.  It approaches the hip from the side.  Then there is  the anterior approach.  Watching patients recover from anterior approach is impressive. 

The advantage is no muscle is cut.. The surgeon separates the muscle to expose the hip.. This is the only major approach where the surgeon doesn't cut muscle and tendon off of bone and then stitch it back. Where the posterior approach and lateral approach the surgeon literally has to cut muscle off the bone.  That weakens the hip and the patient can dislocate. After the hip is replaced the cut muscle and tendons have to  be stitched back. In the anterior approach the surgeon just separates the muscle.  The surgeon doesn't cut it. It doesn't have to be stitched back because it was never.  The incision is very superficial because the anterior approach comes from the front.  People have a lot less fat from the front.  If the patient has extra weight it is usually on the side or the back of your hips. Going from the front is a much quicker approach to get to the hip. Dislocations are much less also.

After surgery there are  no restrictions with the anterior approach. From day one of hip replacement - the patient can squat, tie their shoes, they can bend, no precautions.  That's a huge advantage to the anterior approach compared to other approaches.  There is also less pain and quicker recovery.  People are off a cane sometimes within days to a week or two.

If you are interested in more about the anterior approach to the hip, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.

  • ABOS
  • AAOS
  • NCOA
  • PractEssentials