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Anterior Hip Approach Surgery
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Anterior Approach . . . What’s That?
The Hip Replacement Surgery with the Funny Name offers Big Benefits

Less pain. A quicker recovery. Better mobility. If your surgeon said you could reap those benefits with a particular type of operation, you’d probably go for it. That explains why so many hip replacement patients these days are opting for a relatively new procedure in which the incision is made toward the front of the patient’s hip joint, rather than the rear, as has traditionally been the case.

“Anterior approach” hip replacement surgery, as it’s called, requires a special operating table and a specially trained surgeon – and not every patient is eligible for it – but the benefits are big for those who are suitable candidates.

Here’s the reason: The hip joint is just closer to the skin on the front of the body. As a result, critical muscles don’t have to be detached from your hip or thigh bones, yielding benefits during, and long after surgery. In traditional hip replacement surgery – known as the posterior (rear-facing) approach – the surgeon must cut muscles that help the patient walk. As a result, patients have limitations for about two months after surgery, and recovery time may be longer than what it is for those who receive hip replacements via the anterior approach. In fact, anterior approach patients can start bending at the hip and return to all activities as soon as they want after surgery.

Another big advantage of the anterior approach is that keeping all those muscles intact can prevent dislocations. And since the surgical incision is toward the patient’s front, sitting is less painful than it would be with a rear-facing incision. 

If you’re thinking about hip replacement surgery, talk to your physician about the anterior approach. Most patients are candidates and the procedure is currently being performed extensively at the Total Joint Center at St. Elizabeth Edgewood.

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