There is no doubt that Total Hip Replacement (THR) is a very successful, life changing operation for people who suffer from diseases of the hip joint that lead to pain, stiffness and loss of function.
Access to the hip joint to perform the surgical reconstruction is available through a number of procedures using various anatomical approaches.
Over the last decade or so much attention has been given to the anterior (or frontal) approach to the hip.
It is an approach that is over 100 years old but has gained in popularity because of the invention of new instruments and techniques to enable surgeons better exposure of the joint area. Surgery involves an incision (skin cut) on the front of the thigh or in the groin crease whilst the patient is lying on their back.
The potential advantages of anterior hip replacements include:
- less pain
- quicker recovery
- less restrictions following surgery
- less risk of post-surgery dislocation
- more accurate positioning of implants
- better assessment of leg lengths at time of surgery
That being said, each individual patient recovers in their own unique way and some will be quicker than others with more or less pain.
The potential complications of anterior hip surgery include those common with other approaches of the hip joint, for example infection, fractures, nerve injury and blood clots. More specifically numbness on the side of the thigh is more common with anterior hip surgery.
- patients are generally standing on the day of the operation,
- progressing to walking with crutches on Day 1
- discharge after 2-4 days.
- walking aids are generally recommended for up to 4 weeks.
- Patients often do not require a period in an inpatient rehabilitation facility following anterior hip replacement
It is important to note that the decision to resume driving is multi-factorial. Considerations include the use of pain killers, which leg was operated on, and the general confidence of the patient..