Anterior Hip Replacement – What you need to know

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Hip replacement is easily one of the most commonly performed surgeries in the entire country, like the world as well. Each year in the US alone hundreds of thousands of procedures are done. As the average American keeps aging, it’s extremely likely that the number of hip replacement surgeries performed is only going to keep increasing. 

So what IS a hip replacement? Well just like it sounds, your traditional hip replacement is going to consist of completely removing your worn-out hip joint and replacing it with an incredible modern artificial joint in its place. This will in turn reduce your overall pain and increase mobility. 

What Conditions can lead to one needing hip replacement surgery?

A whole host of different factors in life can contribute to your hip issues whether it be degenerative issues you were born with, injuries and use in sports for decades or whatever else. Many reports that they do start to feel some degree of pain in the hip itself as the hip joint starts to degrade and get in worse and worse conditions. Now you need to stay in close consultation with your doctor through all of this but depending on your pain and the deterioration shown in imaging your doctor may elect to treat you without surgery until that is the only option. There are some steps you can take yourself to alleviate the symptoms of a degraded hip joint and just make it easier to get around in your everyday life. 

  • Stay active: A consistent exercise schedule can help you maintain strength in the muscles around your hip which will take some of that load off and help reduce pain and improve mobility. 
  • Medication: Your doctor may recommend that you take an anti-inflammatory drug like acetaminophen to control swelling and inflammation that directly causes pain.
  • Walking Equipment – If pain when moving is really stopping you it’s worth looking into a simple walker or cane to just take a lot of that stress off of the hip and reduce future wear and tear. 

Deciding to have an anterior hip replacement is a big choice and one that each individual needs to make for themselves. You’ve got to consider your recovery time and the long-term outlook, the price, what assistance you may have afterward, and so much more. For a lot of people, the turning point is when nothing else at all seems to work and the pain and lack of mobility is affecting their everyday lives.  It’s estimated that anywhere between 332,000 and 400,000 total hip replacements are done every single year just in the United States, with that number only growing.

The Anterior Approach to hip replacement

Hip replacement professionals have traditionally used the posterior approach. The posterior hip replacement approach consists of the patient laying on their side. The orthopedic surgeon will then cut a large incision just behind the hip bone to gain complete access to the joint there. But in more recent times the anterior hip replacement approach has become much more popular with doctors across the board. 

So anterior hip replacement Raleigh is also commonly referred to as a minimally invasive hip replacement. To put it simply, the biggest difference here between the anterior approach and the posterior approach is the angle at which the hip and hip joint are accessed. So posterior is a medical term that means back, and anterior means front. So rather than having to lie on your side so the orthopedic surgeon can access your hip, the patient is able to lie on their back instead. What’s so special about this is the anterior hip replacement approach allows for faster recovery times, less pain in the time after surgery, and a much greater overall range of motion in the hip. 

Believe it or not, most patients have the ability to go home the same day or within 24 hours after anterior hip replacement. Since major muscles avoid being cut, most patients need far less pain medication to treat any pain from surgery. It may seem silly that moving the incision just a few inches away can make such a difference in an operation. With the posterior approach, there is just no other way to get the job done than to cut through thick muscles, and then they have to be repaired and reattached properly before surgery can conclude. 

The anterior hip replacement approach has actually been around just as long as the posterior approach, it was just as patients began to really seek out the least invasive techniques possible that allow for the shortest recovery times possible. This of course had led to continuously higher interest over time in the approach. Now in the past, the anterior approach was done less commonly just because at the time you needed specialized equipment and specially trained surgeons. Of course developments in medical technology and such have made it so that the anterior approach is now just as easy – with all of the associated benefits there’s almost no reason not to look into it at least!

Can Any patient have direct anterior hip replacement?

So it’s a fantastic option, but it is NOT an option available to everyone. As with any medical procedure, it is absolutely critical that you talk directly with your doctor about what is going to work best for you. So there are a few things that could keep you from being able to have an anterior approach hip replacement. So many patients who are obese or overweight may not do well with this approach because of all the excess tissue around the hip joint as well as the increased risk of infection from what would need to be a larger wound. This would be found when all preliminary testing and imaging are done. 

What is Rehabilitation Like after anterior approach hip replacement?

Since far less damage is being done to the structures surrounding the hip, less time and recovery are needed. The average recovery time sits somewhere around four weeks which is half as much as the traditional approach. 

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