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The Anterior Hip Replacement Procedure

written by: DulceCorazon • edited by: Emma Lloyd • updated: 6/22/2010

Many individuals with hip arthritis benefited from the advent of the anterior hip replacement procedure. The procedure is generally less invasive, less painful and allows for faster recovery time.

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    What is Anterior Hip Replacement Procedure?

    In recent years, the anterior approach for hip replacement has been gaining popularity in total hip replacement surgeries in the US. The main reason for this is because this procedure is minimally invasive in comparison to what has been previously practiced, the posterior approach.

    In the anterior hip replacement procedure, the surgeon works with the hip joint upfront insatead of work from the side or from the back. Through this, hip replacement can be done without the need to detach the pelvic muscle at the time of surgery. The gluteal muscles that are found in the pelvis and femur are the muscles responsible for proper hip function. In this kind of hip replacement surgery, they are untouched hence, they will not undergo trauma from the surgery and that helps to lessen the amount of time needed for recovery.

    However, not all patients are good candidates for this minimally invasive procedure. Candidates for anterior approach hip replacement surgery are those with arthritis affecting the hips. Individuals who have hip arthritis but at the same time overweight, had other hip surgeries before or severe hip dysplasia, are usually disqualified for the procedure.

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    How is the Procedure Done?

    The anterior hip replacement surgery is done by making an incision about 4 inches in length on the patient’s groin while he is on his back on a specially made surgical table. The surgeon usually works between the pelvic muscles thus no muscles are cut or severed. The operating table allows the patient to position his leg and pelvis in a stable manner. It has leg supports that provide the surgeon to adjust the affected leg with precision and control even at the time of the operation. Intra-operatively, x-rays will be taken to ensure correct size, fit and position of the artificial components of the hip.

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    What are the Complications from the Procedure?

    Just like any invasive procedure, there are some complications that may arise from the anterior hip replacement procedure. However, they are usually rare. These include infection, deep vein thrombosis, femur fracture, nerve damage and revision of surgery. Dislocation may also happen but is least likely.

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    What is the Recovery Time?

    One of the advantages of anterior approach hip replacement is the eradication of restrictions with regard to movements. Unlike the posterior approach wherein the patients are restricted to bend the hip joint greater than 90°, the anterior approach allows patients to resume their normal activities much earlier. And in about 2 to 5 days, patients are usually sent home, thus, reducing the length of hospital stay. Recovery time usually takes two to six weeks in patients who had the anterior approach hip replacement procedure done. In comparison, patients' recovery time after a posterior approach hip replacement procedure usually takes about six to twelve weeks.

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    References

    WiseGEEK: What is Anterior Hip Replacement?

    NewHipnews.com: Anterior Hip Replacement