5 Things to Know About Anterior vs Posterior Hip Replacement

Posted on Dec 21, 2019, by

Is hip pain affecting your daily life? Is it hard to walk the dog, go to the grocery store or complete other everyday tasks? 

If so, you may find yourself one of 300,000 Americans who will need a hip replacement surgery this year. 

When considering a hip replacement surgery, you’ll want to discuss with your surgeon whether an anterior or posterior hip replacement is the best option for you. 

The Kennedy Center at Ascension Mercy specializes in both the posterior and anterior approach to hip replacement. Although the anterior approach has some positive benefits, including being less invasive and having a quicker recovery, the posterior approach has been successfully used on more than 30,000 patients at the Kennedy Center over the past 30 years. Whichever procedure you and your surgeon decide on, you can be assured you’re getting outstanding results.

Before making your final decision on a procedure, learn the five differences between anterior and posterior hip replacement.

1. Anterior replacement is more complex, with fewer skilled surgeons.

Anterior hip replacement is a modern approach and, while it’s growing in prevalence and patient preference, it is not yet as common as posterior hip replacement. Because this approach comes with a learning curve for surgeons, there are fewer surgeons experienced in anterior hip replacement in the US and NE Wisconsin.  It’s important that you find a provider who is both experienced and who has excellent results.

The Kennedy Center specializes in anterior hip replacements. Our surgeons skillfully use muscle sparing techniques and advanced pain modalities that make most patients great candidates for this procedure.

Learn more about whether an anterior hip replacement is right for you.

2. Anterior hip replacements have fewer long-term restrictions.

Although anterior hip replacements do heal faster, both procedures ultimately leave the patient ready to return to almost all of the activities they were able to do before surgery. However, patients who have an anterior hip replacement are able to return to activities, such as yoga, cycling, kayaking, much quicker than those with a posterior procedure. 

There are certain activities, including running and playing football, that are still on the “Forbidden” list after having either procedure. The Kennedy Center’s Dr. McLaughlin tells his patients, “You can walk ten miles, but you can’t run ten yards.”  

3. The size and placement of the incisions will be different.

In anterior and posterior surgeries, the outcome is essentially the same — a new hip. The big difference in anterior vs posterior hip replacement is primarily where the incision is made and how long it is. 

In a posterior hip replacement, the procedure is done on the side of the hip. During this traditional approach, the orthopedic surgeon makes an 8-10 inch while you lie on your side. It does require the surgeon to cut through some muscle. The technique splits muscles along the fiber, allowing for long-term success.

With the anterior hip replacement approach, the procedure is done on the front of the hip. Surgeons complete the procedure through smaller cuts, about 2-5 inches long, as you lie on your back. In addition, muscle is avoided as the procedure is completed. Thanks to the smaller incision and the ability to preserve muscle, the anterior approach allows patients a faster recovery.

4. Same-day hip replacement is possible with the anterior approach.

Surgical innovations have revolutionized recovery for hip replacement patients in recent years. With an anterior hip replacement, Kennedy Center patients with good support systems have the option of going home the same day after a total hip replacement. For many patients, it’s an exciting shift from what traditional posterior hip surgery has meant — multiple days in the hospital. 

If you’re eager to get home after surgery, learn more about same day hip replacement.

5. Anterior hip replacement recovery is faster and offers other advantages.

With any hip replacement, recovery is the focus, so you can get back to normal activities as quickly as possible. Because of the less-invasive techniques in anterior hip replacement, patients who undergo this surgery often have faster recovery rates. 

In fact, if you are in your late 40s to early 60s and are active and healthy, you can expect to recover at home, with less postoperative pain, within 2-3 weeks. On the other hand, it takes a few weeks longer to recover from traditional posterior hip replacement, an average of 6-8 weeks.

Advantages of anterior hip replacement:

  • Less muscle trauma
  • Shorter hospital stays
  • Less pain
  • Less chance of hip dislocation
  • Less chance of long-term limping

At the Kennedy Center, almost every hip replacement procedure we do is with the anterior approach. Because of the added benefits of this technique, it makes it the right choice for many patients. But if you are not an appropriate candidate for anterior hip replacement, remember that the Kennedy Center has an international reputation built on doing tens of thousands of successful posterior hip replacements. 

Talk to your doctor about which procedure is best for your needs. Questions about the posterior or anterior approach hip replacements? Contact our team at The Kennedy Center, click here.





One Response to 5 Things to Know About Anterior vs Posterior Hip Replacement

  • nea says:

    I just recently, three months ago had a total hip replacement by the anterior method, My surgery was at 7:30 and I was home by lunchtime, I walked out of the “hospital” actually outpatient facility with my walker. I would say I had minimal pain, they gave me plenty of pain medication, only took about 10 pills and was totally off them by three weeks. I still have some soft tissue pain once in awhile but the hip pain is completely gone….everything went like clockwork, if you are apprehensive about this surgery, don’t be…it is a piece of cake….

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