Anterior Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery

Anterior Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery

Anterior minimally invasive hip replacement surgery at a glance

  • A total hip replacement completed through a direct anterior (meaning toward the front of the body) minimally invasive approach is done using a single incision on the front of the hip.
  • A direct anterior approach allows the orthopedic surgeon to access the joint without splitting or cutting the muscles so the muscles remain intact.
  • One major benefit of an anterior minimally invasive approach to hip replacement is that patients can return to normal function quicker with less post-surgery pain or rehab restrictions.
  • This procedure offers surgeons the ability to relieve pain and restore function in those with arthritis or for those whose joints have been damaged by trauma.

What is an anterior (frontal) minimally invasive hip replacement surgery?

Atotal hip replacement, also known as hip arthroplasty, replaces the hip joint with an artificial one. There are multiple ways an orthopedic surgeon can perform this procedure. An anterior hip replacement refers to a surgery done from the front of the hip, compared to the traditional posterior and lateral approaches. This spares the muscles from being detached or split during the procedure.

A minimally invasive, or muscle-sparing, approach means the doctor performs the surgery through smaller incisions (cuts). Incision size varies between three and five inches, depending on the patient’s anatomy.

Using minimally invasive techniques allows the patient to potentially have better function and reduced rehabilitation time. Anterior hip replacements can be performed on nearly all patients including hip fracture patients. The procedure involves a short hospital stay and anesthesia.

Denise shares her story comparing posterior and anterior hip replacement surgeries

What to expect after this kind of hip replacement surgery

Patients have very few post-operation limitations and can return to their daily activities rapidly, but should ease back gently.

After the surgery, the patient will be moved to a hospital room for monitoring while the anesthesia wears off. Once care providers clear the patient to move around, the patient is encouraged to use a walker or cane and put weight on his or her leg. Sometimes the surgery can be done as an outpatient procedure. Prior to leaving the hospital or surgery center, patients may receivephysical therapy to regain mobility and strength. Most patients go home in one to two days.

Benefits of the anterior approach

Benefits to direct anterior minimally invasive hip replacement include:

  • Appropriate for the majority of patients
  • Does not require detaching or splitting the muscles
  • Allows for the use of both cemented or cement-less implants
  • Less risk of weakness in the nearby thigh (abductor) muscles
  • More accurate restoration of the limb length, less limb length discrepancies
  • No significant motion restrictions after surgery
  • A very low hip dislocation rate of approximately 0-2%
  • Patients quickly return to full function and normal gait (walking, stride)
  • Significantly less pain than other hip replacement methods
  • No strengthening limits
  • No abductor (thigh muscle) pillows are necessary to restrict hip motion

Risks of a total hip replacement with an anterior minimally invasive approach

Total hip replacement through a minimally invasive, anterior approach is relatively safe but there are some risks common with any surgery. These include:

  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Injury to nerves
  • Hip joint dislocation
  • Loosening of the joint
  • Leg length changes
  • Fracture

Prior to surgery, our providers will go over all risks and address any patient concerns.

Anterior minimally invasive hip replacement surgery: a time-tested method

Surgeons traditionally performed hip replacement surgeries by making an incision (cut) from behind (posterior) or on the side (lateral) of the hip. Since the 1980s, surgeons increasingly performed hip replacements by making the incision on the front of the hip (anterior).

Dr. Joel Matta first performed this hip replacement method in the U.S. in 1996. Combining the anterior approach with a minimally invasive method meant smaller incisions, minimal scarring, less tissue damage from the procedure, and faster rehabilitation. All of these benefits lead to excellent patient outcomes, making this method an established and often recommended approach to hip replacement.

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