Anterior hip replacement is a less invasive approach to hip joint surgery. With the anterior approach to total hip replacement, the orthopedic surgeon in Gilbert AZ accesses the joint from the anterior (front) of the hip as opposed to the lateral (side) or posterior (back). The anterior approach allows the Arizona hip surgeon to make repairs and replacements without detaching tendons, muscles, or soft tissue.
The anterior approach to hip replacement was first described in the 1940s. This approach is gaining in popularity, and advocates for anterior approach total hip replacement consider its advantages to be earlier restoration of walking, low dislocation rates, and muscle-sparing ability. The procedure begins with the patient lying on his/her back. The surgical incision is slightly lateral to the front superior iliac spine of the pelvis. The 4- to 5-inch incision runs toward the lateral aspect of the ipsilateral knee. After moving soft tissue and muscle, replacement is made.
Because the anterior total hip replacement surgery uses a small incision, and muscles are moved rather than cut, the result is less trauma and damage to the hip soft tissues. Recovery time is usually faster with the anterior approach than traditional surgery, and patients report less post-operative pain. After only 2-3 weeks, patients begin walking without assistance, which is compared to 5-6 weeks with posterior hip replacement surgery.
Length of Hospital Stay
After the minimally invasive hip replacement, you will stay 1-4 days in the hospital. You may stay longer if you have serious health conditions, severe hip arthritis, and complications during the procedure. The length of stay varies from patient-to-patient, but the anterior approach to hip replacement is usually related to a shorter length of hospital stay than the posterior or lateral approaches.
Physical therapy begins the day of surgery. To strengthen the hip joint, you must do small exercises, such as contracting buttock and leg muscles and ankle pumps. The therapist works with you to learn exercises that help regain full hip movement. You will work with the therapist two times each day. Once you return home, the physical therapist will see you 3-4 times each week.
After you leave the hospital, you should have family or friends stay with you for a few days. You will need help with errands and household activities. In addition, you cannot drive for 2-4 weeks, so you will need transportation home from the hospital, to follow-up appointments, and to the pharmacy. It is also important to stock up on easy to prepare foods, such as frozen, canned, and premade meals.
Your anterior incision will be closed with staples or sutures, which are removed around 10-14 days after surgery. The surgical site will be numb, sore, bruised, and/or swollen for a few days. You may experience itching or pulling of the incision site as well. We recommend using an icepack for 10-20 minutes several times a day to relieve discomfort. In addition, avoid using any lotions or creams on the hip area. To keep the incision clean and dry, avoid showering until your wounds are healed. You can bathe, however.
Being physically active is an important aspect for recovery. Within 2-4 weeks, you will be able to resume your daily routine and normal activities. During the first week, you will start walking with a walker and advance to using a cane. To avoid falls and injuries, you should only walk in areas where there are handrails, no loose rugs, and no cords. You may begin driving after 2-3 weeks, depending on how you progress.
OSPI offers the top hip specialists in Arizona, specifically the East Valley. Hip replacements done by the anterior approach need an expert to be done well. Call OSPI today, most insurance is accepted!