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Hip Replacement: Why is the Anterior Approach on the Rise?
by Ellie Devroy | Jun 14, 2018    Share

iStock-512211857-WEBIf you have hip pain while doing every day activities such as walking or bending, have difficulty putting on socks and shoes, or getting in and out of cars, it may be time to speak to an orthopedic surgeon about a hip replacement.

There are three approaches an orthopedic surgeon can take to perform a total hip replacement — anterior, lateral, and posterior. However, orthopedic surgeon, Nicholas Loafman, DO, prefers to use the anterior approach. With this approach, the surgeon makes a small incision on the front of the hip while the patient is lying flat. Dr. Loafman prefers this method for the following reasons:

  1. Minimally invasive: The surgeon makes the incision in an internervouse plane, meaning you are not cutting any muscles or nerves. You are able to simply move them out of the way to get access to the hip. Once the new hip is placed the muscles simply fold back over causing as little structural damage as possible.
  2. Use of fluoroscopy or “intra operative imaging”: The surgeon is able to use live x-ray during surgery to take images of the hip, which allows a more clear and precise view while putting the components in. At any time during an anterior procedure a surgeon can stop and take a picture to ensure accuracy and can change the course of surgery if needed.
  3. Less post-operative restrictions: With some of the posterior approaches a patient can’t cross their legs or go into a squatting position for a period of time post-surgery. These restrictions typically don’t apply with the anterior approach.

“With the anterior approach I feel much more confident that the hip is going to be stable and it’s less likely to dislocate,” said Dr. Loafman.

While the anterior approach is the newest, and Dr. Loafman’s preferred surgical method, all approaches are effective at treating joint pain.  

“What we have found is, in the long term, the surgical approach isn’t as important as correct positioning of the components of the joint replacement,” said Dr. Loafman. “Sometimes an anterior approach isn’t what’s best for the patient and here at Lakeland, we offer patients access to all approaches in addition to technological advances such as computer navigation which is huge for patient safety and satisfaction.”

For more information on total joint replacement, watch the video below:

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