Direct Anterior Hip Replacement

Hip arthritis can greatly interfere with the range of movement in the hip, as the cartilage in the joint wears away over time. Those who have advanced arthritis often resort to surgery to relieve pain and restore function in the affected hip. The direct anterior approach to hip replacement can offer many advantages over traditional hip replacement, including reducing the patient’s recovery time.

Who is a candidate?

Dr. Weber will try to treat his patients without surgery first, using medications, activity modifications, and injections. However, if these methods fail to make a difference in the level of pain and function, surgery will be considered.

Candidates for hip surgery have pain that interferes with everyday activities like walking and bending. Some patients may also have stiffness that inhibits the ability to move the hip. They may have difficulty putting on shoes and socks. Good candidates must also be healthy enough to undergo surgery. Those with a heart condition will need to be evaluated by a specialist prior to the surgery. Also, overweight patients may need to lose weight before the surgery, in order to reduce the risk of complications.

What are the benefits of the Direct Anterior Approach?

During a traditional hip replacement, the incision is made at the back, or posterior, of the hip and sometimes on the side of the hip. These approaches require some of the muscles surrounding the hip to be detached so that the surgeon can access the hip. Dr. Weber has extensive experience with the approach and serves as an instructor to other surgeons. He has performed over 1300 Direct Anterior Approach hip replacements.

With the direct anterior approach, Dr. Weber makes the incision at the front, or anterior, of the hip. This method allows Dr. Weber to perform the surgery without detaching any of the hip muscles. Because the hip muscles do not have to be detached and reattached during a direct anterior hip replacement, the muscles do not have to heal following the surgery. There will still be some recovery time, but it is greatly reduced in many cases. Post-operative pain is also lessened with this approach, as is the risk of dislocation, and patients can usually advance rehabilitation more quickly than patients who undergo traditional hip replacement. Since the risk of dislocation is lower, patients do not have to follow dislocation precautions. 

What happens during surgery and recovery?

During surgery, the damaged components of the hip will be removed and replaced with prosthetic parts. Hip prosthetics consist of a metal or ceramic ball component and a plastic socket component, which has a metal outer shell. There are two types of prostheses that can be used. The most commonly used hip implant is a prosthetic that has a special surface, allowing the bone to grow into the prosthetic to hold it in place. The other option, rarely used, is cementing the implant into place using a surgical cement. X-rays can easily be used intraoperatively to insure the components are properly sized and placed and that leg lengths are equalized. This type of implant may be an option for patients with poor quality bone. In some cases, a combination of both implants may be used.

An incision will be made at the front of the hip. The hip is exposed along a natural plane between the muscles, which eliminates the need to detach muscles. Once the trial implants have been put into place, Dr. Weber will check alignment and length before placing the final components into place. The surgery generally lasts 1½ to 2 hours.

Following surgery, you will begin walking in the hospital. It is important to begin moving the new hip soon after surgery in order to have the best possible outcome. If you are experiencing any pain, you will be given medication to manage the pain so that you can participate in physical therapy exercises. Because the anterior approach does not require the muscles to be cut, many patients find that they have less pain following surgery, which makes it easier to begin walking and many other daily activities.

You may need some help for the first few weeks after surgery, so you will want to arrange for someone to help you after you have been discharged from the hospital. You may have restrictions on certain activities, such as driving and heavy exercise. It is very important to follow all of your doctor’s instructions following surgery, because this will help to insure the best possible outcome.

Direct Anterior Hip Replacement in Tinley Park, IL

Dr. Daniel Weber is a board-certified and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon. He has extensive training and experience in minimally invasive hip surgery, including the direct anterior approach to hip replacement. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Weber, or to find out more information about direct anterior hip replacement, you may contact our office at (708) 429-3455.

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Tinley Park

6850 W. Centennial Drive, Tinley Park, IL 60477