Hip replacement surgery. These three words can conjure up fears: A long hospital stay and even longer rehabilitation and recovery; a big incision and an even bigger bill; a ton of restrictions and even a ton more pain.
One technique, called Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery, can help squelch those fears, and therefore be an excellent option for patients in need of a hip replacement.
The Difference Between Anterior Hip Replacement and Posterior (Traditional) Hip Replacement
The purpose of both anterior and posterior hip replacement surgeries is the same: regaining pain-free mobility. Both procedures involve removing the damaged head of the femur, which along with the pelvis forms the hip joint, and any damaged cartilage within the hip socket. A metal or ceramic ball is then attached to the bone and a new metal socket is put in place. Each procedure just takes a different path to get to that result.
5 Benefits of the Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery
“Both the both posterior and anterior hip replacement techniques have been performed for years. Either can be performed to ultimately meet the end goal of increasing patient mobility and decreasing pain. Overall, though, I believe the anterior technique provides a greater patient experience with less pain and quicker initial recovery,” explains Dr. Doug Miller, OSMS Hip and Knee Replacement Specialist.
No muscles cut
Because the anterior approach avoids cutting through muscle, this allows for less damage to the muscle as a result of the surgery, which of course, minimizes muscle repairs after surgery. Not needing to cut the muscle also decreases the risk of hip dislocation because the muscles and soft tissue around the hip remain intact and continue to naturally prevent it from dislocating.
Use of intraoperative x-ray
State-of-the-art x-ray technology can be used during anterior surgery. This increases the accuracy of the new hip structure. The more precise the placement, the more natural feeling after your surgery and potential for better long-term function.
Greater Activity Due to Fewer Restrictions
With posterior hip replacement surgery, certain movements and activities need to be avoided for fear of hip dislocation. After anterior hip surgery, patients are encouraged to move and bear weight as soon as it’s comfortable for them to do so. Bending at the hip, internal hip rotations, sitting with crossed legs; none of these are prohibited. If the patient is comfortable doing it, then so be it.
Less post-operative pain
Muscle healing is the cause for much of the pain and longer recovery periods for posterior technique patients. Because the anterior technique doesn’t depend on cutting any muscle, patients typically don’t experience as much pain. This also means needing less pain medication.
A smaller incision. No muscle cuts. A shorter time period in surgery. Less post-operative restrictions. All of this leads to a quicker recovery towards a more mobile, pain-free life. In fact, research suggests people who have anterior hip replacements stop using walkers, canes, and other assistive devices 5 to 7 days sooner than traditional hip surgery patients.*
“The greatest benefit of an anterior hip replacement is getting the patient back to the life they love sooner with the least amount of complication and pain. I see the relief and happiness in every one of my patients who have had the procedure,” states Dr. Miller.
If you are suffering with hip pain, request an appointment with one of our orthopedic surgeons.