Joint Replacement – Hip Replacement Surgery: more than a quarter million people in the U.S. each year undergo Total Hip Replacement Surgery to ease pain and restore mobility.
A number of conditions, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can cause severe hip damage and pain. If non-surgical efforts such as medications, changes in daily activities, and walking aids do not adequately relieve pain or increase mobility, an artificial joint replacement of the affected hip may be recommended. A full orthopedic evaluation will be conducted and x-rays taken to assess the extent of the hip damage. The final decision to undergo hip replacement surgery should be made with your primary care physician.
Anterior Approach Hip Replacement
One of the newest and most heavily preferred types of hip replacement surgery – by patients and surgeons alike – is Anterior Approach Hip Replacement. Now available and performed regularly at BMC, this minimally invasive surgery is initiated from the front (anterior) of the hip rather than the side or back. The technique leaves key muscle groups surrounding the hip and thigh bones undisturbed, allowing surgeons to work between those muscles and tissues, rather than having to detach and subject them to trauma. The anterior approach in that way provides the potential for less pain, faster recovery and improved mobility.
Not every patient is a candidate for the anterior approach, and the results for all patients can vary, depending on the nature of the condition and other factors unique to each patient. The orthopaedic surgeon consulting with you will clarify expectations.
A Closer Look at the Procedure
The Anterior Approach differs in several ways from conventional surgery techniques, including:
- Anterior means front. So this technique uses one small incision on the front of the upper thigh.
- The hip is exposed in a way that does not detach muscles or tendons from the bone
- The anterior approach involves a 4-to- 5- inch incision, while conventional hip replacement surgery generally involves a 10-to-12-inch incision.
- A specially designed operating table is used to help improve access to the area.
A Closer Look at Potential Benefits
The Anterior Approach procedure for total hip replacement has been gaining in popularity recently due to its advantages over conventional methods.
- Possible faster recovery time because key muscles are not detached during the operation.
- Potential for fewer restrictions during recovery. Although each patient responds differently, this procedure seeks to help patients more freely bend their hip and bear their full weight as soon as possible following surgery
- Possible reduced scarring because the technique allows for one relatively small incision
Potential for stability of the implant sooner after the surgery, resulting in part from the fact that the key muscles and tissues are not disturbed during the operation.
- Keeping the muscles intact may also help to prevent dislocations.
- Potential for less pain medication, as tissue trauma has been minimized.
- Patients go up and down stairs, during supervised therapy, before their hospital release.
- Shorter Hospital Stays. After surgery, people who undergo the direct anterior approach typically stay in the hospital for two nights. They leave the hospital with crutches or a walker to use until they can walk stably without pain. That can vary from a few days for some people to six weeks for others. Most people take some pain medication after hip replacement surgery.
- Typically, you can begin driving again about three weeks after surgery.
- For physical activity, normal daily tasks and walking usually are recommended for the first eight weeks. After that, low-impact exercises such as swimming and biking are a good idea to start building strength.