Called the Direct Anterior or “front” approach, this new technique involves making an incision on the front of the hip rather than the side or back as traditionally done. As a result, the surgeon can follow the natural spaces between the hip joint’s muscles and tendons, resulting in less damage to these soft tissues.
Rehabilitation is often accelerated because the hip is replaced without detachment of muscle from the pelvis or femur. Additionally, because the gluteal muscles and other natural stabilizers are left undisturbed, it is possible for patients to regain mobility more quickly and ultimately go home from the hospital sooner. In fact, the normal post-operative restriction of limiting hip movement to 60 or 90 degrees does not apply to those patients who have undergone the Direct Anterior Approach. Following the Anterior Approach, patients may be allowed to bend their hip freely, allowing them to resume their normal daily activities such as sitting or getting into or out of a car without restriction.
Other key advantages of the Direct Anterior Approach include:
- Hospital stay may be reduced from 3 – 10 days to 2 – 4 days
- Smaller surgical scar
- Reduced risk of post-surgical dislocation of the hip implant