The direct anterior approach is a minimally invasive surgery technique
for hip replacements, involving a smaller incision and less aggressive
measures during the procedure.
During a traditional hip replacement, the surgeon cuts through the side
or back of the hip, and detaches muscles and tissues around the joint.
With the direct anterior approach, the surgeon doesn’t have to disturb
the patient’s inner workings as much. They do not cut tendons or
muscles, but just push them out of the way, causing less inflammation
than the traditional approach.
Benefits of Direct Anterior Approach
Not only does the surgery leave a smaller incision, the recovery is also
faster and easier for patients. They can walk without an assistive device
much sooner than with the traditional approach. The patient will also
experience less pain.
Another advantage to the direct anterior approach is the faster recovery
time. A 2014 study published by the
Journal of Arthroplasty found that anterior hip replacement patients walked unaided six days earlier
than other hip replacement patients. Patients are encouraged to begin
walking or resuming normal activities as soon as they feel comfortable.
Other potential benefits include less blood loss, less scarring and decreased
risk of hip dislocation after surgery.
How Can You Avoid Needing a Hip Replacement?
There are a few important steps you can take to avoid needing a hip replacement
altogether. The first is to maintain your ideal body weight. The more
weight you carry, the more stress you are placing on your hip joint. And
when you walk, you’re moving that weight at a force equivalent to
three times your body weight—and all that force is moving across
your hip joint every day. By maintaining a healthy weight, you are minimizing
that pressure and strain. Physical fitness and muscle tone are also important.
Another preemptive measure is to not smoke. The poisons in tobacco smoke
affect the small blood vessels of the joint and can reduce circulation
in the joint. Doctors may even refuse to perform surgery based on the
This innovative procedure is performed at Saint Francis Healthcare. If
you need advice or more information on
hip replacement surgery or the direct anterior approach, call Saint Francis’ partner, Premier
Orthopaedics, at 302.656.2643.
Saint Francis also offers
Outpatient Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation services, where orthopaedic conditions and neurological disorders, among other
cases, are treated with one-on-one care. Call 302.575.8250 for more information.