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Anterior Approach to Total Hip Replacement

When debilitating pain and stiffness in your hip limits your daily activities, you may need a total hip replacement. The anterior approach to total hip replacement is a new advance in orthopaedics that combines the skills of a highly trained orthopaedic surgeon with the advanced table and instrument technology to offer patients a surgical option that, according to clinical research, has the potential to shorten the healing process, prevent dislocations that can occur post-procedure and reduce postoperative pain.

During a total hip replacement surgery, the ball and socket of the hip joint are replaced with artificial prostheses. The traditional approach is to make an incision along the side of the leg in order to access the hip joint. The anterior approach is to make the incision from the front which allows the surgeon to work between muscles without detaching them from the hip or thigh-bones while replacing the deteriorated bone with the prostheses. By leaving these healthy muscles undisturbed, the body takes less time to heal and healthy muscle tissue is spared to help strengthen the new joint (preventing future dislocations). Patients also experience less pain while sitting since the incision is on the front side of the leg instead of the side or back.

Surgeons receive special training in this approach because it requires unique equipment. A special operating table known as the Hana® table is some times used to allow the surgeon a better view of the joint while implanting the new prosthetic. While some surgeons prefer to use the Hana® table, others prefer to use a more hands-on approach to position the patient on a conventional operating table. Each approach offers the surgeon a different way of getting to the same successful outcome.

Specially curved and custom-designed instruments also allow the surgeon to work around the muscles without major disruption, which allows for a faster healing process.