Hip pain can stem from various types of arthritis, which can be treated by hip replacement surgery. According to Harvard Health, there are over 300,000 hip replacements in the U.S. per year.
During a hip replacement, worn out cartilage/bone is removed and replaced by artificial parts.
There are two approaches that can be taken when replacing the hip, posterior and anterior hip replacement. Both approaches are very effective; however, one approach may be a better fit for you based on your age, health, and body.
Woman experiencing hip pain from hip arthritis
The posterior approach to hip replacement is the more common approach of the two. During this procedure, an incision is made behind the hip joint, in the low back/buttock region. After the incision is made, the hip surgeon will need to access the hip by cutting through muscle and tissue.
Although the posterior approach is the well-known, the anterior approach has increased in popularity over the years. This approach involves making an incision in front of the hip, on the upper thigh. Unlike the posterior approach, the hip surgeon will access the hip by pushing the muscles aside.
What Approach is Better?
Both the posterior and anterior approach to total hip replacement have advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to discuss these with your hip replacement doctor to come up with the best option for you and your body.
Advantages of Posterior Approach to Hip Replacement
- Most hip doctors are taught this approach
- There is a better view of the hip during surgery
- Majority of patients are a good candidate for this approach
Disadvantages of Posterior Approach to Hip Replacement
- To access the hip joint, the surgeon will need to cut through muscle
- Higher risk of dislocating the hip
- Recovery may be slow and limited
Advantages of Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement
- Quicker and less painful recovery
- The surgeon does not need to cut through muscles to access the hip
- Less restrictions during recovery
Disadvantages of Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement
- Certain people are not a good candidate for this approach
- Less visibility of the hip joint during surgery
- Performing surgery is more challenging
- More risk for infection
What Approach to Hip Replacement Am I a Good Candidate For?
People who are obese or extremely muscular are typically better suited for a posterior approach. Candidates who are young and active should consider an anterior approach. Be sure to see a hip replacement specialist to determine what approach is best for you.
Why is the Anterior Approach Less Common?
Most hip replacement doctors are taught the posterior approach to hip replacement, which is why it is generally performed more. However, many surgeons have undergone additional training to learn the anterior approach, and this approach is gaining more popularity.
At Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics, we offer both approaches to hip replacement surgery and have highly experienced hip replacement specialists.
Book an Appointment with the Best Hip Replacement Specialist in Nashville
If you are experiencing hip arthritis or hip pain, you may need a hip replacement. Come see one of our hip replacement doctors, Dr. Gregory Raab or Dr. Brian Dierckman. You can book an appointment at a location nearest to you by calling us or booking online.
Kane, K. (2015, November 4). Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness. Total Hip Replacements: Posterior versus Anterior Approach - Advanced Physical Therapy and Fitness | Mechanicsburg Physical Therapy. https://www.advancedptinpa.com/our-blog/207-total-hip-replacements-posterior-versus-anterior-approach.html.
Leone, D. W. (2019, October 19). The pros and cons of two approaches to Hip Replacement: Mini-Posterior and Direct Anterior. The Leone Center for Orthopedic Care. https://holycrossleonecenter.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-two-approaches-to-hip-replacement-mini-posterior-and-direct-anterior/.
The Center. (2019, January 9). Anterior vs. Posterior total hip replacements. The Center. https://www.thecenteroregon.com/medical-blog/anterior-vs-posterior-hip-replacements/.