“Arthroplasty” refers to the surgical reconstruction or replacement of a joint.
Direct anterior total hip arthroplasty or replacement is a minimally invasive hip surgery performed to replace the total hip joint without cutting through any major muscles. It is also referred to as muscle sparing surgery because no major muscles are cut enabling a quicker return to normal activity.
Traditionally with total hip replacement, the surgeon makes the hip incision laterally, on the side of the hip, or posteriorly, at the back of the hip. Both approaches involve cutting major muscles to access the hip joint. With the direct anterior approach, the incision is made in front of the hip enabling the surgeon to access the joint without cutting though any major muscles.
Hip replacement is indicated in patients with arthritis of the hip joint.
Arthritis is a condition in which the articular cartilage that covers the joint surface is damaged or worn out causing pain and inflammation. Some of the causes of arthritis include:
Patients with arthritis may have a thinner articular cartilage lining, a narrowed joint space, presence of bone spurs or excessive bone growth around the edges of the hip joint. Because of all these factors arthritis patients can experience pain, stiffness, and restricted movements.
Your doctor will evaluate arthritis based on the characteristic symptoms and diagnostic tests. Your orthopaedic surgeon will perform a physical examination, order X-rays and other scans, and also some blood tests to rule out any other conditions that may cause similar symptoms.
Direct anterior total hip replacement surgery involves the following steps:
After traditional hip replacement surgery, you would be instructed to follow hip precautions to prevent your new hip from dislocating. These guidelines are very restrictive and include no bending or flexing the hip past 90 degrees, no crossing of legs, use a pillow between the legs when sleeping, and use an elevated toilet seat.
With the anterior approach, you will not have to follow standard hip precautions.
Your doctor will however give you instructions to be followed at home for a faster recovery. These include:
Contact your doctor if you observe increasing swelling or redness in the operated area.
All surgeries carry an element of risk whether it is related to the anaesthesia or the procedure itself. Risks and complications are rare but can occur. Below is a list of complications that can occur following any hip replacement procedure:
Click on the topics below to find out more from the orthopaedic connection website of American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.