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    Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement

    Anterior hip replacement is a less invasive approach to hip replacement surgery. With this procedure, the surgeon accesses the hip joint from the front (anterior) of the hip, as opposed to the lateral (side) or posterior (back). Doing so allows the surgeon to replace the hip without detaching any muscles or tendons. This means that the most important muscles needed for hip functioning are untouched, requiring no healing.

    Anterior Hip Surgery at CPMC

    At Sutter Health CPMC several of our orthopedic surgeons offer anterior hip replacement surgery Opens new window and are specially trained in this procedure. CPMC also has a special surgical table for the anterior approach, which makes use of modern carbon fiber composites and allows for the intraoperative use of x-ray to help best position the replacement.

    During anterior hip replacement surgery, the surgeon makes a 3-6” incision on the front of the hip—significantly smaller than the incision made during other total hip replacement procedures. The surrounding muscle is separated (not cut) to allow the surgeon access to the hip joint and insertion of the hip prosthesis. Our video on anterior hip replacement takes you step-by-step through the procedure.

    Recovery After Anterior Hip Surgery

    Because anterior hip replacement surgery uses a small incision and the muscles surrounding your hip are moved rather than cut, the result is less damage and trauma to the soft tissues around your hip. Additionally, hip precautions after surgery are much easier to comply with after an anterior approach.

    Recovery time is typically faster than with traditional surgery, and patients experience less pain. In most cases patients are up and walking the same day of surgery. After two or three weeks, patients can start walking without assistance, versus five or six weeks with traditional surgery.

    Hip Replacement Approaches Defined

    • Posterior Approach: Traditional hip surgery uses a posterior approach, in which the buttock muscles are cut to reach the hip joint.
    • Anterior Lateral Approach (Antero-Lateral): Surgery is performed with the patient lying on his/her side, and the surgeon accesses the hip joint from an incision over the lateral aspect of the hip. The surgeon gains access to the hip by detaching a portion of the abductor musculature. While this approach may afford more stability than the traditional posterior approach, patients tend to limp for up to one year (a result of detachment of the abductor musculature).
    • Direct Anterior Approach: This less invasive approach uses an incision at the front of the hip and muscles are moved, rather than cut, to access the hip joint.