Anterior Approach Hip Replacement

Alternative Approach to Hip Replacement

Degenerative disease of the hip is a significant source of pain and disability for many Americans. In some cases it is so severe that it affects one's ability to perform simple tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, and putting on shoes and socks. Active people with hip disease often see their lifestyle adversely affected by this problem. People with progressive pain and disability due to hip disease that has not responded to things like medications, therapy, and injections, often consider total hip arthroplasty (THA, also known as Hip Replacement Surgery) to relieve pain and regain function.

Hip replacement has helped literally millions of people improve their quality of life. People have been able to lead productive and active lifestyles for many years after this operation. Hip replacement is widely considered one of the most successful operations ever developed. However, hip replacement has also been associated with a relatively long recovery and post-operative restrictions.

Most hip replacements in the United States are carried out through a posterior approach. While very successful and widely utilized, this approach has certain limitations. Intra-operative imaging is difficult to use, and studies have shown that there is significant variability in the surgeon's ability to accurately place the hip components through this approach. Also, this approach disrupts the muscles in the back of the hip. The posterior approach has traditionally carried the highest risk of dislocation. Patients must be cautious in the first several months after surgery to prevent a dislocation of the prosthetic hip.

Anterior Approach hip replacement is becoming increasingly more popular. This approach enlists the help of a special operating room table, the HANA table, to assist the surgeon in performing the operation. With this surgical approach, there is no muscle cut or detached. Additionally, intra-operative imaging is facilitated by the table, giving the surgeon real time information on component position. The combination of these factors is often associated with a faster recovery and allows the surgeon and patient to avoid the “hip precautions” needed with the posterior approach.

Dr. Gordon is one of the few surgeons in the Chicago area regularly performing hip replacement through an Anterior Approach. He and his patients have enjoyed enormous success. Visit our Anterior Approach patient page to hear from Dr. Gordon's patients.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Hip Pain

Each patient is unique, and can experience hip pain for different reasons. It’s important to talk to us about the cause of your hip pain so you can understand the treatment options available to you. One common cause of  hip pain is arthritis, a degenerative condition that involves the breakdown of cartilage and bones in the hip joint. Pain from arthritis and joint degeneration can be constant or come and go, occur with movement or after a period of rest, or be located in one spot or many parts of the body. If you haven’t experienced adequate relief with medication and other conservative treatments, hip replacement may provide you with relief from your arthritis.

Hip replacement

Total Hip Replacement

Total hip replacement involves removing arthritic bone and damaged cartilage in the hip joint, and replacing them with an implant. The hip joint is generally described as a ball-and-socket joint. Take a look at how the end of the thigh bone (femoral head) is replaced with a metal stem and an artificial ball that is secured to the top of the stem. The hip socket (acetabulum) is reconstructed, typically using a metal cup lined with a durable plastic (polyethylene). The femoral and acetabular components work together to form the artificial hip implant.

Direct Anterior Approach


Your surgery may be performed using the Direct Anterior Approach, a minimally invasive surgical technique used in total hip replacement. This technique may be associated with:

  • Reduced muscle damage 
  • Reduced pain 
  • Faster post-operative recovery 

What are the differences between the Direct Anterior Approach and a traditional hip replacement? One difference is the location of the incision. During a traditional hip replacement, the surgeon will operate on the patient from the side. Using the Direct Anterior Approach, the surgeon operates on the patient from the front. Another difference is the length of the incision. Traditional hip replacement may require an 10-12 inch incision  while the incision used in the Direct Anterior Approach may be 3-4 inches in length.

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