Anterior Hip Replacement

 Sharon Clark
Sharon Clark is active again
following hip replacement
Sauk Prairie Healthcare is among just a few hospitals in the area with orthopedic surgeons trained to perform hip replacement from the front of a patient, rather than from the side or back.  The technique — anterior hip replacement — allows for hip replacement without disturbing gluteal muscles, which attach to the pelvis and femur.  Generally, patients who undergo anterior hip replacement recover more quickly than those who undergo posterior or lateral replacements, according Michael Lamson, MD one of SPH’s six orthopedic surgeons.

“You can perform the surgery through a smaller incision,” says Lamson, “but the biggest benefit is that you don’t have to detach any muscles, so immediately after surgery patients can get up out of a chair more easily and enjoy a lower risk of hip dislocation.  Most patients can go home the day after surgery and do not have to follow hip precautions for dislocation.”

That’s exactly what happened with 70-year-old Sharon Clark, of Lodi. Clark had an anterior hip replacement in January.  “I had surgery on Friday and came home Saturday at 1 pm,” she said.  “I was going up and down stairs the day after surgery.  It was painful, but I knew what to do because I was prepared.  It was an easy recovery.”  When interviewed just six weeks following her surgery, Clark was walking unassisted and no longer needed physical therapy.

In conventional hip replacements, strict precautions exist for patients, who must limit hip motion for six to eight weeks after surgery.  Moreover, they are required to limit flexing of the hip, which can complicate activities like sitting in a chair, putting on shoes and getting into a car.  Conversely, an individual recovering from anterior hip replacement can immediately bend their hip freely and bear their full weight once they are comfortable.

During anterior hip replacement surgery, orthopedic surgeon Matthew Hebert, MD, maintains he can take multiple, rapid x-rays to see how the new hip components are adjusted and ensure appropriate leg length.  “Surgeons can’t use x-rays as easily in a posterior approach,” says Hebert.  “With the anterior technique, I confirm the hip is a good fit and that the leg length is correct before we are out of the operating room. That’s a huge benefit.”

Most people who qualify for traditional hip replacement typically qualify for the new, anterior approach, as well, according to orthopedic surgeon Diana Kruse, MD. “I think as surgeons get exposed to this new approach, they’ll agree the benefits are worth making the change.  I would suspect that in the next 10 or 20 years, the majority of surgeons will use the anterior approach.”

Contact Sauk Prairie Healthcare's joint care coordinator at 643-7689 to discover more about hip replacement options, including the anterior approach.