Hip replacement surgery is a common procedure that is performed to alleviate hip pain and repair damage caused by arthritis, a sports injury, or other hip conditions. It can restore mobility and enhance an individual’s overall quality of life when conservative treatments have been unsuccessful, or if they are unviable.
The two main approaches to this type of surgery are anterior and posterior hip replacement. Each approach can mean a potentially different outcome for the patient.
What Is an Anterior Hip Replacement?
Anterior hip replacement surgery is performed by making an incision on the front (anterior) side of the hip. It utilizes minimally invasive surgical techniques, thereby allowing the surgeon to work between – rather than through – the adjacent muscles and supportive tissues (ligaments and tendons). This leaves them intact and relatively undisturbed while replacing the hip joint.
This means that the hip is fully supported immediately after the procedure. This gives the patient fewer restrictions with movement following surgery and decreases the chance of dislocation while the hip heals. It allows the patient to get moving quicker after hip surgery, while significantly reducing pain and overall recovery time.
Because the anterior approach uses smaller incisions, spares the surrounding muscles that support the hip joint, and minimizes scarring, pain, and downtime, many patients can begin post-operative rehabilitation much sooner and return to their normal activity level within weeks after surgery. Other approaches require a longer recovery time, because the muscles need additional time to heal. Anterior hip replacement surgery can also prevent any discomfort in the incision area when sitting down or lying on your side.
How Is Traditional Posterior Hip Replacement Different?
A posterior hip replacement requires a longer, curved incision on the side and back of the hip. This approach requires the surgeon to cut through muscle and other soft tissue at the back of the hip to allow access to the joint.
This can be a shorter procedure than anterior hip replacement surgery, as it is not as technical and offers better visibility in certain areas of the joint. There is also less chance of nerve damage than with the anterior approach, which can damage the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve – thereby causing numbness in the outer thigh – although this does not affect muscle control or strength.
A majority of patients are candidates for this type of surgery as compared to an anterior hip replacement. This is thus the better option for those who are overweight, have femur deformities, or have abnormal pelvis anatomy.
Although the anterior approach is often preferred over the more traditional hip replacement procedures, it is still not yet as widely performed. Advanced training in this technique is required, as it is a technically demanding procedure.
Hip Replacement Surgery in Naples, Florida
If you are suffering from hip pain, talk to the board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons here at the Joint Replacement Institute in Naples. We specialize in hip joint replacements, including direct anterior approach procedures, to successfully alleviate your hip pain.
If you would like to find out if you are a good candidate for hip replacement surgery, call us today at (239) 261-2663 or you can request an appointment now by filling out our online form. We look forward to serving you!