For many years, hip surgeons would perform hip replacements using the posterior approach, meaning they would enter the hip joint from the rear of the body, or perhaps the side. This approach entails cutting muscle, which requires a long and painful recovery. Then too, patients had to exercise lifelong caution that they not bend their hips past a certain point; their post-operative flexibility was severely.

A short history of the anterior approach

The first total hip replacement performed using the anterior approach (from the front of the body), was conducted in Paris in 1947 by Robert Judet using a special operating table designed by his father Henri. British orthopaedic surgeon John Charnley implanted the first consistently successful total hips in the 1960s. It wasn’t until 1996 that the American orthopaedic surgeon we credit for pioneering the anterior approach, Dr. Joel Matta, performed his first anterior approach THR. With the development of the specialized Hana® operating table, this procedure has gained favor with patients and surgeons alike.

Benefits of total hip replacement at Greater Dayton Surgery Center

The direct anterior approach offers four distinct benefits:

Faster Recovery

You are up walking with full weight bearing on the operative leg within hours after the surgery. Therefore, the procedure is a natural for adaptation to the outpatient setting. This technique often enables patients to return to their active lifestyles in as few as four weeks.

Minimally Invasive

Your hip joint is accessed and replaced through a 3” – 4” incision, and more importantly, no muscle is cut or detached from the bone in this approach. Some muscles in front of the hip are pushed apart in order to work on the hip joint, but they are uninjured. This results in less pain, and consequently, contributes to the faster recovery.

Less Restrictive

Following conventional hip replacement surgery, patients must limit the flexing of their new hip to no more than 60 to 90 degrees. These restrictions simply do not apply with the anterior approach. You can bend your new hip freely. This approach reduces pain, blood loss, scarring, muscle trauma, and the risk of discoloration as well.

More Accurate Placement of Prosthesis

Using our specialized X-ray machine — the fluoroscope — our surgeons can clearly see the placement of the components of your hip prosthesis in real time. This allows them to make adjustments immediately, giving you an accurately-placed hip prosthesis and assuring you will have equal leg lengths and therefore no gait disturbances.

While more total hip replacements are being performed each year, and more of those are anterior approach hip replacements, not every orthopaedic surgeon does them. Why not? Because it does require the surgeon to learn this approach on their own — it is not taught in medical school. The learning curve is steep and only the most dedicated orthopedists apply themselves to this task. Those who do, like the experienced hip surgeons at Greater Dayton Surgery Center, recognize the valuable benefits to their patients and strive to provide them with this advanced hip replacement methodology. Want to learn more? Call us at 937.535.2200.