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Anterior Hip Replacement

Depending on your condition, you may qualify for minimally invasive anterior hip replacement. Unlike traditional hip replacement, anterior hip replacement uses an incision on the front part of the hip and allows the surgeon to access the joint without cutting any muscles in the hip.

Because it is a minimally invasive approach, anterior hip replacement typically offers some benefits when compared to traditional surgery. Most patients experience a quicker recovery.

Am I a candidate for anterior hip replacement?

The most common reason for anterior hip replacement is arthritis in the hip. Arthritis can contribute to numerous problems in the hip joint. Talk to your doctor about this minimally invasive option if your hip pain, stiffness, or mobility are affecting your ability to do daily tasks.

Your doctor will use a physical exam, blood tests, history, and X-rays or other tests to help diagnose your condition and evaluate if anterior hip replacement is an option.

What happens during anterior hip replacement?

During anterior hip replacement, your surgeon will make a smaller incision than traditional hip replacement, located on the front of the hip. Typically, your incision will be 4 inches long or less. Your surgeon will then move your muscles to the side to reach your hip joint.

Once he or she accesses the hip joint, your surgeon will separate the thigh bone from the socket and fit a replacement component into the socket. Next, a liner is placed inside the component. The top of the thigh bone will be cut off and another piece of your artificial hip will be inserted into the bone. The last component—called the femoral head—will be placed at the top of the thigh bone.

To make sure your hip components are positioned correctly, your surgeon may use fluoroscopic imaging while performing surgery.

What are the risks of anterior hip replacement?

The surgical risks of anterior hip replacement are rare. However, some potential complications and risks include:

  • Blood clots
  • Infection in the hip
  • Break or fracture of the bone
  • Unequal leg length
  • Damage to the nerves
  • Bleeding in the hip joint

How can I have a smooth recovery after anterior hip replacement?

Your care team will give you instructions on how to best recover at home. While traditional hip replacement comes with several restrictions on how you can move your hip, anterior hip replacement does not have these same limitations. In general, you should:

  • Attend your regular physical therapy appointments
  • Take the medications your doctor prescribed
  • Call your doctor if you have unusual swelling or redness in your hip
  • Avoid smoking
  • Make healthy food choices