Anterior hip replacement surgery uses an incision at the front of the hip, rather than on the back or side of the hip as with traditional hip replacement surgery. Mr Simon Mellor, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at One Hatfield Hospital, explains more about this procedure.
What are the benefits of anterior hip replacement?
When compared to traditional hip replacement techniques, anterior hip replacement avoids any damage to muscles and tendons around the hip joint. As a result, the procedure is associated with less post-operative pain and the potential for faster rehabilitation. This can allow a quicker discharge from the hospital.
The technique also tends to require a smaller incision and therefore a smaller scar. By avoiding muscle and tendon damage, it may also help to reduce the risk of hip dislocation, one of the main complications of hip replacement surgery.
Who is suitable for anterior hip replacement?
The indications for having a hip replacement are the same, whatever technique is planned. Typically, someone with hip arthritis needs a hip replacement when they have daily pain despite taking regular pain killers, especially if they have rest pain or night pain. They may limp and require a stick. Overall, the hip symptoms are significant and are preventing them from enjoying their usual daily activities.
I have been performing anterior approach muscle sparing hip replacement since 2010. I have lectured locally and nationally on the technique and in the operating theatre, I routinely train junior surgeons and visiting surgeons who wish to learn how to perform anterior approach hip replacement. Originally, I was selecting ‘ideal patients’ for the technique. As my experience has grown, I have reached a stage where the majority of patients are suitable for this surgery, and now I rarely turn down patients for this method of hip replacement.
What does the procedure involve?
Anterior approach hip replacement typically takes between about an hour and an hour and a half of surgery time. To achieve the best possible outcome, I use an X-ray machine during the surgery to check that the implants are inserted in exactly the right position. Typically, patients are up and walking the same day for a morning operation, or the next morning if the surgery is performed in the afternoon. Patients go home once they have passed their discharge targets. I have had some patients ready to go home the next day. Many go home after just 2 days.
How long is recovery time?
Recovery after anterior approach hip replacement is a bit quicker than after traditional hip replacement. Since there is no muscle or tendon damage, patients find that they can walk with less discomfort than if they had a traditional hip replacement. Limping is less common and patients require less painkillers. Patients will be discharged from hospital with physiotherapy instructions so that they can exercise safely during their recovery. We can also prompt patients during their recovery, using the ‘my recovery’ app on their smart phone.
Generally, patients can expect less pain and greater mobility within a few weeks of the operation. By six weeks after surgery, the majority of patients are walking comfortably with no limp, and judge that their operation has been successful.
How can I find out more?
Mr Simon Mellor is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon specialising in hip and knee surgery. Read more here.
Mr Mellor has regular clinics at One Hatfield Hospital. Just call our reservations team to book an initial consultation.