In total hip replacement surgery, the surgeon replaces the hip joint’s degenerated cartilage and bone with implants.

Patients in need of total hip replacement surgery usually have one or more of the following conditions:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Broken hip
  • Injuries that cause the joint to become rough and worn, resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness when the bones rub together

Anterior vs. Posterior Approach to Total Hip Replacement Surgery

There are 2 approaches to total hip replacement surgery – the anterior approach and the posterior approach.

The difference between the anterior approach to hip replacement surgery and the more traditional posterior approach is the access to your hip joint.

In the posterior approach, an incision is made beside or behind your hip joint. Your surgeon must go through muscle and detach some of the muscles from the “ball and socket” of the hip joint.

With the anterior approach, detaching muscles is not required because your surgeon accesses your hip joint by entering through the front of the thigh and goes between your muscles. By going between the muscles, rather than detaching them from the bone, the surgery can be less painful. In addition, because your muscle is only minimally disturbed, you typically have less blood loss and quicker recovery and rehabilitation.

Another benefit to leaving the muscles intact is more joint stability. This reduces the chance of hip dislocation, one of the risks of hip replacement surgery.

Most patients are able to bear full weight soon after this surgery and are not given movement precautions.

Because of these benefits, the anterior approach to total hip replacement is especially appropriate if you are active and eager to return to work and daily activities as soon as possible.

Eligibility for the Anterior Approach to Total Hip Replacement Surgery

Not all hip replacement patients are eligible for anterior hip replacement surgery. Your doctor will evaluate whether the anterior approach is right for you. Factors may include:

  • Patient’s history
  • A thorough examination
  • Imaging studies such as X-rays or MRIs

Some patients can have same-day anterior hip replacement surgery. Patients who qualify for this procedure avoid an overnight stay in the hospital altogether. Patients are discharged home late the same day of their surgery and follow-up with their surgeon and team the next day for a re-check to ensure all is healing properly.

About Total Hip Replacement Surgery – Anterior Approach

In total hip replacement surgery, the surgeon smoothes out the hip socket and removes cartilage and any debris such as damage to the bone from osteoarthritis.

A cup-shaped implant is secured into the socket. The ball at the top of the leg bone is trimmed away and a metal stem is placed inside the leg bone and secured there.

A ball (metal or ceramic) is placed at the top of the stem and then a smooth, sturdy plastic, metal or ceramic piece is placed inside the cup-shaped implant. This creates a new hip joint that moves smoothly.

Joint Replacement Program

We offer one of the most comprehensive joint replacement programs in the Winston-Salem area. From minimally invasive to bone-sparing procedures, our full menu of surgical options fits patients of all ages and activity levels.

Our orthopaedic teams include surgeons who are highly trained specialists in their fields. That means they focus on diagnosing and treating problems in only one region of the body, such as the knees, hips or shoulders.