Pros And Cons of Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery

Anterior hip replacement surgery procedure is an excellent example of how medical research is continuously evolving & trying to improve results for patients. However, patients & surgeons in the meantime must utilize available knowledge so as to make informed choices.

Hip Pain

Potential Advantages of Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery Procedure

Anterior hip replacement surgery offers several advantages including the following.

  • Lesser Damage to Major Muscles – Since there are fewer muscles at the front of the hip, anterior approach avoids cutting through major muscles. Moreover, orthopedic surgeons work between muscles instead of cutting through muscle fibers or detaching them from bones.
  • Lesser Postoperative Pain – Patients typically experience lesser pain during hip replacement surgery & recovery because the anterior approach does not require cutting through major muscles.
  • Faster Hip Replacement Surgery & Recovery – Patients can bend at the hip & even bear weight as soon as they are comfortable. Most anterior hip replacement surgery patients use walker or crutches sooner than patients who have undergone traditional hip replacement surgery procedure.
  • Decreased Risk of Hip Dislocation – This is a major postsurgical concern for hip replacement surgery patients. However, anterior hip replacement surgery procedure does not disturb muscles & soft tissue structures which naturally prevent the hip joint from dislocation & therefore enhance success rate of hip replacement surgery.
  • Shorter Stay at Hospital – Patients undergoing anterior hip replacement surgery procedure can typically expect shorter stay at the hospital when compared with the traditional approach. However, much of this depends upon the patient & the frequency of physical therapy sessions which are provided at the hospital.

Potential Disadvantages of Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery Procedure

Nevertheless, although anterior hip replacement surgery procedure offers some advantages, there also are a few disadvantages & potential limitations associated with this approach. Some of these disadvantages include the following.

  • Bad Candidates for Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery Procedure – Very muscular & obese people are bad candidates for this approach. Depending upon the experience of surgeons’ this approach may not be appropriate for them. This is mainly because additional soft tissue might make it difficult for the orthopedic surgeon to access the hip joint.
  • Technically Demanding Surgical Approach – Orthopedic surgeons face a steep learning curve for performing this approach. Since anterior hip replacement surgery incision allows restricted view of the hip joint, it is technically demanding upon the surgeon.
  • Potential for Nerve Damage – As it is, potential risk of nerve injury is there with all types of hip replacement surgery procedures. Since anterior hip replacement surgical area is located near the lateral cutaneous femoral nerve running down the front of pelvis past the hip, risk of nerve injury is much more with this approach. But then, risk of damage to major nerves near hip, particularly the sciatic nerve, is lower with the anterior approach than it is with the traditional technique. This is mainly because the sciatic nerve runs behind the hip joint & therefore is not exposed with the anterior approach.
  • Wound Healing Issues – There may be some wound healing issues with the anterior hip replacement surgical approach. Orthopedic surgeons routinely performing the anterior approach recognize that surgical incisions often get irritated, especially among patients with excessive abdominal fat or among those who are large-sized, simply because the incision site can take longer to heal.


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