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Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement

Hip osteoarthritis can be a disabling condition that can significantly affect an individual’s quality of life. Total hip arthroplasty (THA) through an anterior approach is a great surgical procedure that can quickly restore an individual to a pain free lifestyle. The anterior approach for total hip replacement is a dramatic improvement over the more traditionally used surgical approaches. The anterior approach, although not a new procedure, has only recently gained popularity with physicians due to improvements in training and development of operating room tables that aid in the surgical approach. Patients have benefited from this approach by quicker recovery, less dislocation risk, smaller, less invasive incisions and leg length is more accurately controlled.

The anterior approach is the only true inter-muscular approach that does not require cutting any muscles to gain access to the hip joint. Since no large muscles are cut, patients feel less pain and have a quicker recovery. The lack of disturbance of the muscles also accounts for immediate stability of the hip and lower risk of dislocation. Other approaches require strict precautions of limiting hip flexion to 90 degrees up to 3 months. This movement is important for functional activities such as putting socks and shoes on, getting up and down from a chair or toilet and resumption of normal sexual activity.

The normal incision is about 4 to 5 inches but may vary according to a patient’s body size. The anterior approach does not limit the type of hip prosthesis implanted. Hip prostheses that are implanted with or without cement can be used as well as all modern bearing surfaces. Many surgeons who do not use anterior approach are using large metal and metal bearings as a way to decrease their patient’s risk of dislocation. However, metal on metal bearings have recently come under FDA warning due to development of early failure rates and development of pseudo tumors due to the elevated metal ions. Most individuals who are in need of a hip replacement are candidates to have their procedure performed through an anterior approach.

If you would like to discuss hip replacement, please make an appointment with
Dr. Rhoads or 
Dr. Keller call (502) 364-0902.