Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Benefits of Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery over Traditional Methods

Advances in medicine must be cost effective and improve patient outcomes to be clinically relevant.  One excellent example of such an advance in orthopedic surgery is direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty.   This type of hip replacement surgery has been available since the 1980s, but with newer instruments allowing for smaller incisions, it is becoming increasingly popular.

During a traditional hip replacement (known as the posterior approach) the hip capsule is accessed through the buttocks by splitting the gluteus maximus. The surgeon then detaches smaller muscles from the hip joint (the ball and socket) to perform the replacement.

However, with the new muscle sparing approach of anterior hip replacements, the hip is accessed from the front of the thigh through a small 3-4 inch incision. This not only avoids pain associated with sitting on a posterior incision, but it also avoids cutting any muscles in the process as the hip can be accessed by just separating between muscles.

This newer approach yields several benefits, including:

Lower Recovery Times

A study in 2014 discovered that those patients who underwent anterior hip replacements were able to walk without assistance 6 days earlier than those who had had traditional surgery. This is also the case right after surgery, because patients are able to bear weight and bend their hips as soon as they feel comfortable. This means most are able to walk in a quicker time frame than patients who have undergone traditional surgery.

Major Muscles Aren’t Damaged

Surgeons performing anterior hip replacements will work between muscles, rather than cutting them and repairing them again at the end of the surgery. They do this by operating at the front of the hip where there are fewer muscles; therefore, surgeons won’t detach these muscles from the bone or cut the fibers as they would in traditional methods. Because of this, most patients experience far less pain and don’t require as much medication afterwards.

Lowered Risk of Dislocating the Hip

With posterior approach, precautions are necessary to prevent hip dislocations after surgery.  Direct anterior approach is inherently more stable because muscles have not been released.  Because there is minimal risk of the hip becoming dislocated, anterior hip replacement patients are able to cross their legs or bend over immediately after surgery. However, those who have undergone a traditional hip replacement will be advised not to do these things for at least 6 to 8 weeks after their operation.

Dr. John McAllister of Advanced Bone and Joint has been performing total hip replacements in St Charles County since 1989.  Because of improved outcomes seen with direct anterior approach hip replacement, Dr. McAllister sought additional training to learn this new technique.  He has been performing direct anterior approach hip replacement since 2014.

If you have been considering a hip replacement procedure, contact us today to see if you are a candidate for anterior hip replacement.  For your convenience, we have offices in St. Peters and O'Fallon.

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