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The Best Approach to Hip Replacement

Many of my readers either know someone who has had or needs a hip replacement. The total hip replacement is a very successful operation performed by orthopaedic surgeons all over the world for more than 40 years.

Despite its success, there are specific things I feel a surgeon can do to make the operation even better. Primarily, this involves reducing the amount of rehab and post-operative “downtime” a patient endures. My main method for achieving these objectives is by performing the direct anterior or “front” approach.
This is not a new technique, but the instrumentation now available has significantly improved over the last several years. One of the main benefits of this approach is the amount of muscle preserved during the operation. Instead of cutting through several muscles, the approach takes advantage of anatomic intervals, which allow the various muscle groups to spread and expose the hip joint. This yields less soft tissue damage and post-operative pain. In addition, patients typically walk with a cane at most 10 to 12 days.

A second benefit is more accurate leg length and implant positioning. Since this technique is performed with the patient in a face-up position, I can use an X-ray machine to literally “see” the exact position of the implant as I put it in the patient. This allows me to properly place the implant and judge leg lengths much more accurately.

A final benefit of this approach is that patients can return to work faster, depending on the specifics of the job, and resume their important daily activities much quicker than in the past.

Since I converted to the anterior approach, I have made it my first choice for patients and have been extremely pleased with my patients’ recovery. As with any approach, it is not indicated for every patient. However, most individuals certainly are candidates. If you require a total hip replacement, I recommend consultation with your orthopedic surgeon regarding this innovative and effective approach to total hip replacement.