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Total Hip Replacement and Total Knee Arthroplasty
Q&A at St. Joseph's Hospital
Steven Barnett MD
Direct Anterior Hip Replacement is a technique in which hip replacement surgery is performed through an alternative approach compared to conventional hip replacement surgery. Historically, hip replacement surgery was performed utilizing traditional posterior or lateral approaches. This necessitates that certain muscles or tendons are cut in order to access the hip joint and perform the surgery.
The direct anterior approach utilizes a muscle interval in front of the hip joint in which muscles and tendons are not cut for exposure of the joint. Because exposure can be more challenging, special instruments and a custom operating table are used to assist in performing the surgery.
Patients who have undergone Direct Anterior Hip Replacement surgery report that the post operative pain and discomfort is markedly less than traditional approaches. In addition, their recovery is expedited. Most patients are discharged from the hospital by post op day #2 and are off of all walking aids (cane/crutches) by the 2nd week from surgery.
The Direct Anterior Approach is not applicable to all patients. Most patients who are undergoing Revision Total Hip Arthroplasty will be better served by more traditional approaches. Those patients who have hip deformities from childhood also, on occasion, are not candidates for the direct anterior approach.