Anterior hip replacement surgery is a fairly new type of surgery that has many benefits to the patient that traditional posterior hip replacement surgery does not offer. The main benefit to patients is less pain and a much faster recovery period. This is because the muscles and tissues are not cut at the side or back of the leg during the surgery as they are in posterior hip replacement surgery. In anterior hip replacement surgery, the surgeon works between the muscles and tissues to replace the hip. A smaller incision is used as well, which is usually around four inches in length. Because the gluteal muscles that are attached to the pelvis and femur are not cut, there is far less pain and quicker recovery for the patient.
The first anterior hip replacement surgery was performed in Europe in 1947. The procedure has been improved quite a bit since that time, and many patients in Europe and in the United States have been helped by it. In 1996, Joel M. Matta, M.D. brought anterior hip replacement surgery to the U.S. He was serving as the John C. Wilson, Jr. Chair of Orthopedic Surgery at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles at the time. Dr. Matta added a special surgical table and improved the procedure in several ways.
Looking at traditional posterior hip replacement is the best way to see how fantastic the new procedure of anterior hip replacement surgery is. This is because traditional hip replacement surgery was and still is much more difficult than anterior hip replacement. First of all, traditional posterior hip surgery requires that the patient restrict movement of the hip for six to eight weeks after surgery. Every day activities, such as sitting on a toilet seat, putting on shoes, and other daily activities are difficult or forbidden. Patients are also typically not allowed to climb stairs for six weeks. Even getting into and out of a car is difficult. In addition, they are in a lot of pain as the gluteal muscles and surrounding tissue heals. This surgery usually requires an incision of around 10 to 12 inches, so there is pain from the surgery’s incision as well. Recovery typically takes two to four months. Also, hospital stays for traditional surgery is three to ten days for traditional surgery. There is a chance of dislocation of the newly replaced hip if a person forces movement before the muscles are healed, so this is an added complication to this type of surgery. The patient’s leg lengths may not match like they did before the surgery because the method of measurement is not totally precise in many cases.
On the other hand, anterior hip replacement surgery allows patients to resume their normal activities very quickly. Recovery periods are from two to eight weeks, and many people are back to normal within a few weeks. A much smaller incision of four to five inches is required, and since no muscles have been detached, there is no healing required in that respect. The patient experiences less blood loss, less pain, and more accurate leg length control. After anterior hip replacement, patients are advised to use their hip in a normal fashion, and in physical therapy they use stairs before being released from the hospital.
Those who have chosen anterior hip replacement over traditional posterior hip replacement cannot say enough good things about how pleased and happy they are with their hip replacements that were very easy surgeries. They encourage others who are considering hip surgery to choose anterior surgery for its many advantages, and some have gone back to have their opposite hip replaced because their first anterior hip surgery was so easy and allows them to live life normally.