Direct Anterior Approach for Hip Replacement

There are three common surgical approaches an orthopedic surgeon can use when performing a total hip replacement:

  • direct anterior
  • anterolateral
  • posterior

While all three approaches provide for successful hip replacements, the direct anterior approach is the only truly minimally invasive procedure - providing both short- and long-term benefits. Also known as a muscle-sparing method, this procedure approaches the hip from the front with the patient lying on their bac. Eisenhower Medical Center is one of only a few hospitals equipped with a special table - the Hana® Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Table - used by some surgeons for this type of surgery.

A natural space between muscles is used to replace the hip without the need to detach muscles important for hip function. This has the potential of a less painstaking, faster recovery and a quicker return to vigorous activity for the patient.

The direct anterior approach for total hip replacement provides short-term benefits to the patient by being less invasive (no muscle is cut during the procedure), thus providing less pain and a faster recovery. The most compelling reason for the approach is that it provides long-term benefits to the patient. Real-time fluoroscopic X-rays are shot while the patient is lying in an anatomic position
on their back. While the components are being implanted in the operating room, X-rays are taken which helps to assure proper positioning and accurate leg length measurements. Generally, direct anterior approach patients will recover faster - but recovery is usually a function of how highly motivated the patient is - regardless of the approach.

Patients should consult with their physician to determine what type of total hip replacement surgery best meets their needs.

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