FAQs on Anterior Approach Hip Replacement


The anterior approach hip replacement is fast gaining acceptance with the availability of new techniques and equipment. First adopted for commercial use in the early 1980s, it accounts for almost 20 to 25 percent of about 300,000 hip replacements performed in the United States every year. Smaller incisions, shorter hospitalization, Hip Replacement Phoenixand swift recovery drive the popularity of anterior approach hip replacement over the conventional posterior method.

The Board Certified Gilbert orthopedic surgeons at OSPI offer the anterior approach hip replacement to decrease complication rates and improve outcomes substantially.

What is anterior approach hip replacement?

The anterior approach hip replacement is a technique where hip implant surgery is performed from the front. The East Valley orthopedic surgeons make smaller incisions and use gaps between the front hip muscles to get access to the hip joint. The process utilizes special tools and techniques and does not violate muscles and tendons. It makes hip replacement a less-invasive and fast process with swift recovery and early return to work.

Who is a candidate for anterior approach hip replacement?

Not all patients should have anterior approach hip replacement surgery. Medical history, physical condition, and type of hip injury help decide his or her suitability for this procedure. The anterior approach works best for those looking to have hip replacement surgery due to osteoarthritis of the hip. It can be done in all age groups and even on overweight people.

However, patients with prior history of acetabular fracture or traumatic injury causing proximal femur deformities are not suitable for anterior approach hip replacement. Those with larger or more muscular figures, osteoporotic bone, significantly overweight body, and unusual hip anatomy may not be best suited for this type of surgery.

Is an anterior approach to hip replacement better than a posterior approach?

Anterior hip replacement scores over conventional posterior approach to hip replacement in many areas, such as

  • Smaller incisionAnterior Approach Hip Replacement AZ
  • Minimum soft tissue damage
  • Less surgery time
  • Faster recovery
  • Reduced hospitalization
  • Less post operative restrictions
  • Minimum scarring
  • Less risk of dislocation
  • Less post-operative hip precautions

When using this method, the access to the hip joint just requires separation of muscles, not detaching and reattaching them. Less muscular damage means reduced pain, less post-operative restrictions, and faster recovery and return to work.

Are different implants used for anterior hip replacement surgery?

No. Same hip replacement implants are used in both posterior and anterior hip replacement surgeries. The ball-and-socket implants used to replace the hip joint may be following four basic categories.

  • Metal on metal
  • Ceramic on ceramic
  • Metal on plastic
  • Ceramic on plastic

How is anterior approach hip replacement performed?

The anterior approach hip replacement surgery is performed under spinal or general anesthesia. Patients are asked to sleep on a table on their back. An incision measuring 3 to 5 inches is made on the outer side below the groin. Live x-ray imaging (fluoroscopy) helps detect two hip muscles and surgeons just push them aside to have access to the hip joint.

The hip socket is smoothed out and bone debris and damaged cartilage are removed. The ball-shaped end of the leg bone is also pruned.

First, a cup-shaped implant is fixed into the socket and a stem implant is attached to the leg bone. Then the ball of joint implant is attached to the stem and placed inside the cup. The skin is closed with the new hip joint is created.

How long does anterior approach hip replacement take?

The entire anterior approach hip replacement takes about two hours. It may be longer if extra time is required to canstockphoto13092914address anatomical problems or pre-operative complications in a patient associated with positioning, anesthesia, or other preparations.

Do I need to stay at the hospital after anterior approach hip replacement procedure?

Patients are discharged on the second post-operative day unless they develop any complication. Doctors may prescribe an extended stay of one or two days, depending on patient’s physical condition and medical history.

Do I need rest after anterior approach hip replacement surgery?

Two to three days of home rest is advisable. Most patients walk using walkers or canes two days after the surgery. You can return to light activity as soon as you feel comfortable. However, avoid strenuous activity for four to six weeks.

What kind of rehabilitation is needed following anterior approach hip replacement surgery?

The anterior approach hip implant is preferred for “being less invasive, no restrictive precautions, and swift recovery.” Patients can start walking with assistance in three to four days and without in two to three weeks. However, there is need for some though less-duration and less-intense post-operative rehabilitation. You may go for some physiotherapy to regain hip strength, beat stiffness, and have full range of motions.

How long is the recovery period following anterior approach hip replacement?

Patients can start walking with assistance in three to four days and without in two to three weeks. There may be a limp for up to three months until there is bone ingrowth and muscle strength is restored. Progressive weigh bearing, swimming, and walking are encouraged after three weeks. High impact activities can be started only after three months.

What are the restrictions following the hip implant surgery?

Precautions and restrictions are minimal. Weight bearing and the level of activities should be subject to hip comfort. Avoid running, sports participation, or high-impact training until three months.

What are the potential complications of anterior approach hip replacement surgery?ospi_small

  • Surgical complications, such as bleeding, infection, and nerve injury, may impact if standard procedures are not followed.
  • Dislocation is rare but cannot be ruled out (less than 1%).
  • Temporary thigh numbness
  • Implant failure (manufacturing defect or fast wear and tear)

What are benefits of anterior approach hip replacement?

  • Small incision and small scar
  • No surgical impact on muscles
  • Minimal post-operative pain, rehabilitation, and precautions
  • Shorter hospital stay and faster recovery
  • Accelerated recovery and rehabilitation
  • Reduced risk of dislocation
  • Greater stability of the implant


The top notch East Valley orthopedic doctors at OSPI are experts in anterior approach hip replacement procedures. Most insurance is accepted, call today!


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