What is anterior hip replacement, and how is it done?

Older woman looking at x-ray of her hip replacement

Hip replacement surgery is an effective treatment for patients with severe hip pain. In conventional hip replacement surgery, the joint is approached from the back or side. In this approach, the surgeon must cut through muscles around the hip joint. Afterwards, the muscles must be reattached.

How is anterior hip replacement different?

With an anterior hip replacement, the surgeon approaches the hip joint from the front. This is a less invasive surgery that requires only a small incision. The surgeon can perform the hip replacement without disrupting muscles or tendons. Because of this, recovery is often faster and less painful.

“Most patients who undergo hip replacement surgery are candidates for this approach,” says orthopaedic surgeon Beau Kildow, MD. “However, it’s important to find an orthopaedic surgeon with specific experience in the anterior technique.”

Benefits of anterior hip replacement:

  • It’s a minimally invasive procedure.
  • It offers a faster recovery.
  • Most patients can get up and walk without precautions within an hour after surgery.
  • Less time in the hospital. Patients can often return home the same day.
  • Less pain and less pain medication after surgery.
  • Patients are less likely to need crutches, walkers and other assistive devices.

What is recovery like for anterior hip replacement?

“After anterior hip replacement surgery, patients can expect to have some achiness around the thigh, much like a charley horse,” says Dr. Kildow. “Some patients report feeling pain relief immediately after surgery.”

Most patients are fully recovered by six weeks. But some have been fully recovered in just two or three weeks. After recovery, patients can resume regular activity. Most do not require physical therapy.

“Having good support at home helps with recovery,” says Dr. Kildow. “Patients are relieved they can resume activities they enjoy without pain.”

Is anterior hip replacement surgery right for me?

Anterior hip replacement can quickly relieve hip pain, restore mobility and independence, and help you resume an active lifestyle.

“If hip pain is affecting your quality of life, don’t be afraid to consult a doctor about the possibility of hip replacement surgery,” says Dr. Kildow. “Anterior hip replacement is a safe and effective solution for hip problems. Patients recover quickly from the procedure and have great outcomes.”

If you’re experiencing hip pain and would like a consultation with one of our orthopaedic specialists, call 800.922.0000 to schedule your appointment.