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Direct Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement: Things to Know

Doctor discussing hip replacement

Hip replacement, aka hip arthroplasty, has become widespread. This is because the surgery is well-known for having proven, long-term effects on treating hip pain. Methods for total hip replacement in Atlanta, and elsewhere, continue to evolve. Due to ongoing research, a less invasive method to hip replacement has emerged called the Direct Anterior Approach. Here are some things you should know about this innovative procedure.

What Is the Direct Anterior Approach

Direct anterior total hip joint replacement involves replacing diseased and damaged parts of the hip with implants through the anterior, or front, of the leg. An orthopedic surgeon will make a small (approx. 3-5 in) incision along the front part of your upper thigh. Next, the surgeon will spread the muscles that stabilize the hip joint and insert specialized instruments. Once your surgeon has access to the hip joint, they will resurface, remove, and replace the diseased or damaged portions. When finished, the surgeon will close the incision. The average direct anterior hip joint replacement surgery takes one hour.

Advantages of the Anterior Approach

This approach to hip joint replacement surgery differs from additional methods because the hip joint can be accessed and replaced without the surgeon cutting or remove tissue from the back or side of the hip. Because the surgeon only makes a small incision, you will experience less postoperative pain, and won’t require as much pain medication. Direct anterior hip joint replacement is considered a same-day, outpatient procedure. Within 24 hours, you can return home. Plus, you can completely recover from the surgery in about 1 month. And since the surgery doesn’t disturb any of the stabilizing muscles, there is significantly less risk of dislocation your hip during and after recovery.

Who is a Candidate?

Generally, you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery, if you experience severe pain that interrupts daily activities. Most patients are candiates for the direct anterior replacement surgery, but it will be best to discuss this directly with your surgeon. You should start physical therapy after surgery, to regain strength, mobility, and learn how to preserve your replacement hip.  

Preparation for Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery

There are some preparations you need to do before surgery for hip replacement.

  1. Make sure you have a friend or family member who can stay with you during recovery or ask your doctor about rehabilitation centers near you.
  2. Get in shape before the surgery.
  3. You should prepare some meals that can be kept in the freezer and are easy to heat up in the microwave. This will make life for you and your caregiver a little easier while you recover from surgery.
  4. You will likely use crutches or a walker after surgery, so be sure to get rid of any obstacles that could cause a fall or would block you from moving around your home easily.
  5. Remove area rugs, since they are major tripping hazards, and relocate tables and other furniture that constricts hallway space.
  6. If your bedroom is on the second floor of your home, set up a place to sleep on the first floor during recovery.

Lastly, make sure the things you use most often, like your cellphone, computer, remote control, tablet, etc., are in your designated recovery space and can be accessed quickly and easily.

Piedmont Orthopedics | OrthoAtlanta can give you more information on the direct anterior method of hip replacement surgery. Contact us online at https://www.orthoatlanta.com/specialties/hip today.

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