Hip replacement: Your next step toward quality of life

20b0f3a7a7237a0dadaa110ef9626698-1If you need hip replacement, there are two distinct approaches to consider: anterior or posterior. Although both require surgery, the goal is to minimize the amount of invasiveness needed to achieve your best possible outcome. Fortunately, advancements in surgical techniques and technologies have lessened the risk of complications from either approach.

Anterior vs. posterior

Regardless of which approach is employed, the goal is the same: providing patients a new hip. The primary difference between anterior and posterior is where the incision is made and how invasive the procedure is.

With a posterior replacement, surgeons complete the surgery from the side of the hip and must cut through muscle. In anterior replacement, surgeons can make smaller incisions and avoid cutting muscle by going in through the front.

“One thing that has been well-established with the anterior approach is that the immediate post-operative period and early recovery are a little bit easier on patients,” Dr. Nuttall said. “After the first few weeks, it’s been demonstrated you get to exactly the same place with the posterior versus the anterior, but with the anterior approach, patients do tend to get back on their feet a little bit faster.”

No matter the approach, the much more pressing factor in recovery is implant placement and how the implants are positioned to ensure:

  • They incorporate into the body in the best way possible
  • They are oriented in a way that minimizes the position of instability

New technologies such as robotic guidance have significantly improved outcomes from orthopedic surgery, particularly in hip replacements. They have also lifted certain postsurgical restrictions that patients had to endure in years’ past.

“However, there are certain things we don’t do regardless of approach. For example, we don’t let people run on these hips. Other than that, they have very little in the way of restrictions after surgery.”

Some 70-80% of patients who have come into Reid Health and who are candidates for hip replacement have benefited from the anterior approach.

Key advice: Finding a trusted surgeon

The best way to approach hip replacement is to find a surgeon you trust and who has a high volume of surgical experience in their history. Doing so will ensure you get every bit of information you need about the different approaches and feel confident knowing your surgeon has your best interests in mind.

Trust also goes a long way in making the decision to do what’s best for your future health and mobility. Many people fear visiting with an orthopedic expert.

“No time is too early to start looking at these types of surgeries, to start looking at surgeons, and to start getting your questions answered,” Dr. Nuttall said.

“When patients come into my office, I hope they know they can ask anything to make sure they’re comfortable. Because at the end of the day, the service is about the patients and not about us.”

If you would like to discuss your options, contact Reid Health Comprehensive Bone & Joint Center.

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