Hip Replacement

An estimated 27 million people in the United States suffer from osteoarthritis of the hip, a chronic and often painful joint condition that occurs when cartilage inside the hip breaks down. Seniors are at a higher risk for developing this condition, which can occur due to a previous injury, certain inflammatory or medical conditions, or simply from years of wear and tear. If non-surgical treatments aren't effective, you may need to have hip replacement surgery.

Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery

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Memorial Joint Replacement Center offers a minimally invasive option for patients in need of total hip replacement. Known as anterior hip replacement or the direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty, this muscle-sparing alternative can be a viable option for patients who are candidates for total hip replacement. The surgical technique is demanding and requires special training. Less than 10 percent of hip replacement patients in the United States currently receive their hip replacement using this anterior approach.

Our team of highly skilled, board-certified orthopaedic surgeons, have extensive experience with anterior hip replacement surgery.

Since the procedure only requires a small incision at the front of the leg to access the hip joint and goes between the muscles without having to cut them, this anterior approach offers many potential benefits to patients over the traditional posterior approach including:

  • Faster recovery
  • Fewer post-operative complications (such as dislocation)
  • Improved mobility
  • Less pain
  • Lower hip dislocation rate

Intraoperative X-ray imaging throughout the procedure facilitates appropriate implant placement before the patient leaves the operating room, which decreases the risk of dislocation and prolongs the life of the implant when compared to total hip replacement surgery. Advanced technology also includes the use of a specialized table that facilitates better exposure of the hip during the various steps of the procedure, which is another benefit of this anterior approach.

Not all patients are candidates for direct anterior approach total hip replacement. Depending on your condition, total hip replacement through a posterior, lateral or anterolateral approach may be recommended by your surgeon.

Several conditions that could exclude patients from the anterior approach include:

  • Leg length inequality
  • Severe acetabular (the cup-shaped hip-joint socket) bone loss
  • Severe obesity
  • Some types of previous hip surgery procedures

Total Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the hip are replaced with man-made components. Over time, cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple pleasures like walking and gardening unbearable. Hip replacement may reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to leading a normal life.

What Kind of Hip Implant is Best?

There are many kinds of hip implants available today, and no one design or type of implant is best for every patient. Surgeons select the implant they believe will work best for their patient’s needs, which is based on a number of factors including age, activity level, the implant’s track record, and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have questions regarding implants, your surgeon will be happy to answer them for you.

Your Hospital Stay

With improvements in surgical techniques and post-operative care, many patients will be discharged from the hospital after two or three days. Of course, each patient is different, but the goal should be for you to recover in the comfort and privacy of your own home as soon as possible.

What Are the Risks?

Even though hip replacement surgery is considered a successful procedure, it is major surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks. Possible complications include:

  • Blood clots in the leg veins
  • Change of leg length
  • Fractures
  • Hip dislocation
  • Infection
  • Loosening of the implant
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage

Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimize the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind that complications are rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions.

How Successful is Hip Replacement?

Total hip replacement is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 285,000 individuals have their hips replaced each year.1

Your Recovery

Recovery can vary from person to person, but most people will usually need to use an ambulation aid such as a walker for approximately four to six weeks. Driving is usually possible two to three weeks after your surgery and activities such as golf and bowling can usually be resumed in as little as 10 to 12 weeks. Some activities, such as singles tennis and skiing, are not recommended after hip replacement. Most people will be able to go straight home from the hospital, though some patients, particularly those who live alone, may need to spend a few days at a rehabilitation center or nursing home. Keep in mind that healing and recovery times can vary.

How Much Does Total Hip Replacement Hurt?

You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will do everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible. Pain after hip replacement surgery is not entirely predictable and varies from person to person. Modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control most patients’ pain and discomfort after surgery.