Direct Anterior Approach to Hip Replacement

If you’ve been told you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery, you may benefit from a minimally invasive surgical technique performed by the orthopaedic surgeons at Piedmont Orthopaedic Complex in Macon. In the direct anterior approach to hip replacement, your surgeon accesses the hip joint from the front of your body rather than the back. The anterior incision allows the surgeon to replace the hip without cutting the surrounding muscle, which makes a tremendous difference in the amount of pain and the length of "down time" patients experience. Patients who have had a total hip replacement using the anterior approach also have fewer restrictions (in fact, there are typically no restrictions). 

Dr. Bill Barnes

Dr. Bill Barnes was the first surgeon in Middle Georgia to perform a total hip replacement using the Direct Anterior Approach. Over the past five years, Piedmont surgeons have performed hundreds of successful hip replacements using this method.

About the Direct Anterior Approach to Total Hip Replacement

With the direct anterior approach, your specially-trained orthopedic surgeon is able to perform the procedure through a natural space between the muscles of the anterior (front) portion of the hip, rather than making the incision on the posterior (back) side. When the incision is made on the posterior side, damage is made to the muscles that make up the primary support system for the joint, which takes weeks and months to rehabilitate after surgery. In the direct anterior approach, a small incision is made — typically 3 to 5 inches in length — and the hip joint is exposed between the anterior muscles with no need to cut tissue or detach tendons. Once access is gained, the arthritic femoral head and neck and the acetabulum are prepared for the insertion of the hip replacement implant, just as in a traditional procedure. The hip replacement is comprised of metal and plastic components that replace the ball-and-socket elements of the hip joint. They are secured within the femur (thighbone) and acetabulum (hip socket) either with bone cement or by “press-fit,” meaning the implants are shaped to achieve stability without bone cement. Through the use of X-rays, physicians can ensure the implants have the proper fit and alignment to ensure comfort and a natural range-of-motion after surgery.

Advantages to utilizing the Direct Anterior approach:

  • This minimally invasive technique allows the surgeon to access the joint through a smaller incision, which can mean a smaller scar.
  • Preserving the soft tissue surrounding the joint allows for immediate stability following surgery, as well as a lower risk of dislocation, as the primary support muscles are left intact.
  • Patients may have a shorter hospital stay, as there are typically fewer complications and faster healing time associated with this technique.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about the direct anterior approach to hip replacement, you can request a consultation with one of our orthopaedic surgeons here or by giving us a call at 478.474.2114.