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The Advantages of Direct Anterior Approach Hip Replacement

Once reserved primarily for older patients, hip replacement surgery has become more common in younger, more active people. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for a hip replacement, though not the only one; various other conditions or injuries that cause degeneration of the hip joint can make you a candidate, including hip dysplasia, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, traumatic hip injuries, and bone tumors.


If you are in good overall health but have degeneration or damage to your hip joint and non-surgical therapies have been unsuccessful at providing relief, a hip replacement may be recommended. Joint replacement can dramatically improve joint movement and function for suitable candidates, restoring range of motion, relieving pain, and enhancing your quality of life.


This blog will address one specific type of total hip replacement called direct anterior approach hip replacement. While this procedure is not the only option NY Orthopedics offers, the best way to determine whether you’re a good candidate for total hip replacement—and to learn which type of surgery is the best option for your needs—is to meet with one of the fellowship-trained specialists at NY Orthopedics’ Joint Replacement Center.


What is direct anterior approach hip replacement?

Direct anterior approach hip replacement is the least invasive form of hip replacement surgery. Its goal is to cause the least amount of trauma possible to the muscles and tissues surrounding the joint.


Traditional hip replacement surgery is often performed through a large incision through the side or back of the hip, and involves cutting through or detaching muscles and tissues around the joint and then surgically reattaching them. Direct anterior approach hip replacement uses a smaller incision on the front of the hip, and rather than cutting and reattaching muscles and tendons, they are instead simply moved out of the way and returned to their proper position once the implant is in place.


What are the advantages of direct anterior approach hip replacement?

There are numerous advantages associated with a hip replacement performed using a direct anterior approach. Benefits include:


Smaller incision

While traditional hip replacement surgery involves an 8-12 inch incision, the direct anterior approach uses a smaller incision in the front of the hip. This may lead to less post-surgical pain, and in many cases, faster healing.


Less muscular damage

Traditional surgery requires cutting through muscles and tissues in order to expose the joint. They must then be surgically reattached after the artificial joint is in place. With direct anterior approach hip replacement, the muscles are separated and moved out of the way rather than cut, meaning considerably less trauma to muscles and tendons. Less trauma means less pain, better joint stability, and faster recovery.


Can be performed with all types of hip implants

This approach doesn’t place any limitations on the type of hip implant that is used during surgery.


Faster recovery time

Direct anterior approach hip replacement results in a shorter recovery period than other methods for a number of reasons, several of which have already been listed here as advantages. Most importantly, since the muscles and tendons that move the hip and support the joint are not cut, they require a much shorter healing period. And since they are left intact, they stay strong and are better able to support the new joint – which means you’ll be back on your feet faster. The typical post-operative recommendation is “do what is comfortable” without restrictions in how the hip is moved.


Shorter hospital stay

Because the surgery is less invasive than other hip replacement techniques, patients typically don’t need to stay in the hospital as long after surgery.


Looking for direct anterior approach hip replacement in NY?

Undergoing a total hip replacement can significantly improve joint function and your quality of life, but it’s a decision that needs to be discussed in detail with an experienced surgeon. Not all patients are good candidates for a direct anterior approach hip replacement, and your surgeon will discuss with you not only the types of hip replacements available, but also the advantages and potential risks of each option.


While NY Orthopedics offers the latest, cutting-edge techniques in joint replacement, our priority is maximizing patient outcomes and implant longevity above all else. If you’ve been advised to consider a hip replacement, schedule a consultation with one of our fellowship-trained joint replacement specialists to learn more about your hip replacement options.

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