Direct Anterior Hip Replacement: The approach to a speedy recovery
Your hip is stiff and painful and the doctor says it’s worn out. You’ve made the decision to have a hip replacement. Now it’s time to evaluate your options – conventional hip replacement or state-of-the art direct anterior approach hip arthroplasty.
Why choose a direct anterior hip replacement?
How does less pain and a quicker recovery sound. The true advantage of the direct anterior approach is that it is completely muscle preserving. No muscles are cut or detached so healing occurs more quickly with virtually no tendency to limp after surgery.
The direct anterior approach is remarkably precise. The surgeon uses a specialty designed table, the HANA table, to allow for x-ray directed guidance for exact fit and placement of the latest in hip implant technology. Specialty designed equipment allows the surgeon to access the hip through a modest incision placed at the upper, front portion of the thigh. This approach offers quick healing and allows the patient to be up and walking on the day of surgery and often driving within two weeks.
Direct anterior approach hip surgery can be offered to most hip arthritis patients. On occasion, patients may not be ideal candidates for this approach. Factors such as bone deformity, poor bone quality or skin rash over the front of the hip region may influence the surgeon’s decision regarding the best choice for the individual patient.
The fundamental question in choosing an anterior approach to the hip is, “why does surgical approach really matter?” The answer can be summarized in one word – anatomy. The surgical approach through the front of the hip does not detach or sever the crucial elements of hip anatomy. The musculature surrounding the hip and the iliotibial band which protects and supports the hip are carefully preserved – never detached or incised. This accounts for the remarkably speedy recovery and a strong, durable and reliable hip replacement. Less pain and improved muscle strength allow for shortened hospital stays, considerably reduced need for walkers and canes, and diminished need for strong pain medications.
Anterior approach hip replacement has now become the “procedure of choice” for many hip replacement surgeons. The experienced anterior approach surgeon readily recognizes the advantages provided by this safe and reliable technique. For 50 years hip replacement has evolved to become one of the most proven and successful orthopedic procedures. The direct anterior approach is clearly another step forward in the ever important goal to improve upon the patient experience.
Jeffrey E. Larson, M.D. , James P. Wood, M.D.