Is It Time For A New Hip?
Hip replacements are one of the top musculoskeletal surgeries today, and with good reason. With an aging population, more cases of chronic hip pain, stiffness, and discomfort affect everyday activities. As a result, people with hip pain often find difficulty doing simple tasks. In addition, the rise of minimally invasive procedures means that hip replacements are much more common. Hip replacements involve removing damaged bone and cartilage and using a synthetic or metal joint. Now, surgeons use direct anterior hip replacement surgery, an innovative approach to the process.
A direct approach
Most patients who require hip replacements suffer from osteoarthritis, the wear and tear of the cartilage. Eventually, arthritis can cause severe pain and discomfort, even when standing still or sitting. A direct anterior approach means the surgeon can perform the surgery from the front of the hip. First, the patient lies on a special table and receives local or general anesthesia. Next, the surgeon makes a single incision at the front of the hip. The tissue is moved, and the damaged parts of the socket are removed. Finally, the surgeon installs the prosthetic replacement, usually made of metal or plastic. This approach is growing in popularity, and these 3 facts are essential for anyone considering surgery.
1. You can return home the same day
The direct anterior approach can happen with minimally invasive techniques. Advancements in hip replacement allow surgeons to use tools to perform the procedure faster with fewer complications. An anterior approach means the surgeon can move, rather than cut, the surrounding muscle and tissue. This simplifies the process and reduces the recovery time. Direct anterior hip replacement is now popular in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs). Patients can return home the same day of surgery. Furthermore, some patients can begin walking or moving within the same week.
2. It requires high skill
Despite the benefits of a direct anterior approach, the technique is still new. Most surgeons are well-versed in a posterior approach or even a lateral approach. The anterior approach requires high skill and expertise, even with new tools and technology. Patients should be aware of this and ask the surgeon about past patients who benefited from a direct anterior approach. The surgeon can provide examples and feedback to allay any fears.
3. It’s not for everyone
The benefits of this approach include lower infection rates, faster recovery, and less pain. However, the procedure is not for everyone. The ideal patient is in good general health and has a healthy weight. Morbidly obese patients will not benefit due to the risk of infection. Patients who are smokers or have severe osteoporosis may need open surgery. Other possible barriers include previous hip fractures, shorter bone length, and severe bone loss. The surgeon will advise the best course of action for these patients.
Is direct anterior hip replacement right for you?
Severe, chronic hip pain can limit movement and social activity. However, there are options available, namely, a total hip replacement. For eligible patients, the direct anterior approach can reduce pain and improve quality of life with minimal downtime. An orthopedic surgeon will assess all patients to determine if the procedure is the best option.