March 2, 2018 | Staff
A total hip replacement procedure has the ability to relieve pain and restore normal function in cases where the hip joint has been destroyed by trauma or disease. Most surgeons use the posterior hip replacement approach, which is accessed from the back of the hip, for hip replacement surgery because it allows the surgeon excellent visibility of the joint and more precise placement of implants. With the anterior hip replacement approach, the hip joint is accessed from the front of the hip rather than from the side or back of the hip.
Recently, the anterior approach has emerged as a more desirable option for certain patients since the hip is approached and replaced through a natural interval between muscles without detachment of muscle from the pelvis or femur. As a result, the anterior approach requires less hospital time and rehabilitation is accelerated.
LOCATION OF INCISION
Anterior: The incision is made at the front of the hip starting at the top of the pelvic bone (iliac crest) and extending down toward the top of the thigh.
Posterior: The incision is curved on the side of the hip, just behind the greater trochanter (the knobby bit of bone that sticks out at the side from the top of the thigh bone).
Anterior: The surgeon works between the muscles supplied by different nerves, so it's a natural separation that allows ready access to the hip joint. With this approach, there is minimal or no muscle cutting.
Posterior: The surgeon needs to cut muscles and other soft tissue at the back of the hip to access the hip joint. These muscles are repaired and reattached at the end of the surgery.
TECHNICAL EASE OF SURGERY
Anterior: The surgeon tends to have a limited view of the hip joint, making the surgery technically challenging, especially for less experienced surgeons.
Posterior: The surgeon tends to have a good view of the hip joint and comfortable access to the hip joint during posterior hip replacement.
It is important to remember that a successful hip replacement surgery depends on many factors besides the surgical approach. Most importantly, the knowledge and skill of the surgeon, the type of hip prosthesis used, the patient's weight and build and the ability and willingness of the patient to participate in surgical preparation and post-surgical rehabilitation are important factors. The anterior approach can be challenging so you want to select a surgeon that has undergone special training before he or she performs anterior hip replacement.
To learn more about the procedure or to schedule an appointment with one of our anterior hip replacement specialists, call us at 800-698-1280.