The hip is often an overlooked part of the body, but it can cause severe pain and decreased mobility when it has problems. There are many ways to relieve hip pain, including pain medication and physical therapy, but there may come a time when these treatments are no longer effective.
If you’re experiencing chronic hip pain, you may need to consider a surgical solution. Anterior hip replacement can relieve hip pain and give you new mobility. This hip replacement surgery is an effective treatment with a high success rate, but it is not for everyone, and it does have some risks and potential side effects.
If you’re considering anterior hip replacement surgery, read on to understand what it is, what happens during the procedure, and what recovery will be like.
What is Anterior Hip Replacement?
The hip joint is made up of two parts:
- The femoral head, more commonly known as the “ball,” is a round portion on the top of the femur or the thigh bone.
- The acetabulum also called the “socket,” is the cup-like indentation in the pelvis that holds the femoral head in place.
Hip replacement surgery is a surgical procedure to replace a damaged hip joint. Also called hip arthroplasty, it effectively treats hip arthritis, fractures, and other hip problems that can cause severe pain and loss of mobility.
A hip prosthesis is inserted in the place of the damaged joint. This artificial hip joint is usually made of metal components.
Different types of hip replacement surgery depend on the damage done to the hip. These include:
- Total hip replacement: This is a standard procedure to replace all of the components of the hip joint.
- Partial hip replacement: This procedure is also called hemiarthroplasty, which replaces only a part of the hip joint.
Additionally, orthopedic surgeons can use different surgical approaches to access the hip joint and perform hip replacement surgery.
This is the most common approach used for hip surgery. During a posterior hip replacement, orthopedic surgeons access the hip joint from the back of the hip, make an incision through the buttocks, and work to the hip joint.
While the posterior approach is effective for hip replacement, it can also cause muscle trauma since the surgeon has to cut through major muscles to access the hip joint. This can lead to longer recovery times and increased risk of complications.
In a lateral hip replacement, the hip joint is accessed through the side of the hip. Orthopedic surgeons make an incision on the lateral side of the hip, cutting through major abductor muscles. This approach allows greater access to the hip joint while preserving more muscles on the backside of the hip.
The direct anterior approach is minimally invasive compared to the other surgical approaches. During an anterior hip replacement, orthopedic surgeons make an incision on the front side of the hip rather than the side or back, which gives them easier access to the hip joint.
This minimally invasive approach allows surgeons to work through muscle fibers instead of cutting through major muscles. This gives anterior hip replacement many advantages over traditional hip replacement procedures that use the lateral or posterior approach. These advantages include smaller incisions, less muscle trauma, shorter recovery time, and lower chances of postoperative hip dislocation.
Depending on many factors, your orthopedic surgeon can determine whether you need a partial or total hip arthroplasty and which surgical approach is best for you. In some cases, they may even perform a combination of these surgical procedures.
Why Would Someone Need Anterior Hip Replacement?
An anterior hip replacement is effective for treating advanced hip diseases or conditions such as:
- Osteoarthritis: This is a degenerative joint condition that affects the hip joint over time, leading to stiffness and pain.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s own immune system wrongly attacks joints such as the hip joint, causing pain and stiffness.
- Osteonecrosis or avascular necrosis: This is a condition in which the blood supply to the hip joint is disrupted, leading to tissue death.
- Hip fractures: These are breaks, cracks, or other injuries in the bones of the hip joint.
- Hip tumor: An anterior hip replacement can remove a tumor from the hip joint.
Moreover, your doctor may recommend an anterior hip replacement if your quality of life becomes substantially affected by the hip pain and stiffness. Your quality of life may be declining if you are experiencing the following:
- You feel pain when doing basic body movements, such as walking, standing, or sitting down.
- You find it challenging to perform basic daily tasks, such as getting dressed, taking a bath, or climbing stairs.
- You can no longer participate in physical activities you were once able to do, like exercising, running, swimming, or playing sports.
- You find it hard to sleep at night due to the pain in your hip.
- You experience an overall decrease in mobility and flexibility.
By getting an anterior hip replacement, you can relieve pain and restore mobility in your affected hip joint. This will help you lead a more active lifestyle with less pain and discomfort.
It’s also critical to note that anterior hip replacement is not for everyone. Some situations that may make anterior hip replacement unsuitable include:
- Obese individuals have additional soft tissue in the hip area, making it difficult for the surgeon to access the joint.
- Overly muscular people may have muscles in the area that may be too thick to perform the procedure safely.
- Patients who have had previous pelvic or hip surgeries may potentially experience complications.
- Patients with certain medical conditions, such as a weak immune system, infection, diabetes, or heart disease, may need to choose a different hip replacement surgery.
- Pregnant women may need to wait until after they give birth before considering an anterior hip replacement.
Before getting an anterior hip replacement, consult your doctor to ensure it is the correct procedure for you. They will explain the risks associated with the surgery, including infections, fracture, dislocation, blood clots, or nerve damage. They’ll also explain the benefits and guide you through the process before and after the operation.
What Happens During an Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery?
Before the hip surgery, your doctor will conduct specific tests and imaging scans to determine the extent of damage to your hip joint. They will also look into your medical history to determine any underlying medical condition that may complicate the operation. They will also assess your overall health to determine if you are an ideal candidate for the procedure.
On the day of the procedure, your doctor will give you general or regional anesthesia so that you won’t feel any pain during the operation. Once ready, your surgeon makes a small incision in the front of your hip to get to the joint. Then they will remove any damaged cartilage or bone and replace it with an artificial joint.
After placing the hip prosthesis, your surgeon will close the incision site. Other medical professionals in the operating room monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs to ensure your safety. Most hip replacements last one to two hours. After the procedure, you’ll be taken to the recovery room and monitored until you wake up.
After your initial recovery, you may transfer to a hospital room. Your doctor will give you instructions for your recovery and prescribe pain medication to ease discomfort. Most patients typically get discharged from the hospital as early as 12-24 hours after the surgery.
What is the Recovery Like?
During recovery, you may use walking aids, such as crutches, a walker, or a cane, to help support your weight and reduce the stress on your newly replaced hip. You may experience some post-operative pain, but it should improve over time.
You’ll also need to attend physical therapy sessions regularly to help you regain strength and mobility in your hip joint. Your physical therapist will give you exercises and stretches that focus on rebuilding your range of motion and strengthening your muscles around the hip.
Frequent follow-up appointments with your doctor are also necessary to monitor the progress of your hip replacement. The recovery period varies from person to person, depending on their age and overall health.
Contact Academy Orthopedics Today!
Anterior hip replacements are an excellent treatment for those experiencing debilitating hip problems. This minimally invasive surgical procedure provides faster recovery, less pain, and improved mobility in the hip joint.
With proper care, physical therapy, and follow-up appointments with your doctor, you can look forward to getting back to your daily activities safely and quickly.
If you’re considering an anterior hip replacement, contact Academy Orthopedics today. Our experienced orthopedic surgeons will carefully assess your condition and provide the best treatment options for you to live a pain-free life.
Call us at (770) 271-9857 or book an appointment here: Academy Orthopedics to start your journey toward a better quality of life