A New Approach to Anterior Hip Replacement

Hip replacement is one of the most predictably successful surgeries available today. I’ve been doing a significant volume of joint replacement at Piedmont Newnan and Piedmont Fayette hospitals for over 20 years with great success; so why take a new approach to the successful surgery? Because it’s a better experience for my patients! The innovative anterior approach to hip replacement allows my patients to have less discomfort and to get in the game much more quickly. In fact, recovery has improved to the point that hip replacement can now be accomplished as an outpatient at the Georgia Bone & Joint’s Surgery Center!

A few years ago, I transitioned to the direct anterior approach to the hip as my preferred approach. This particular approach is a conservative and minimally invasive alternative to the traditional approach for hip replacement. The incision is generally not much wider than the width of one’s hand. Through this cutting-edge approach, we are able to replace the painful hip through a natural space between certain muscles on the front of the hip. The muscles are not split or fully detached as is commonly done in other approaches to the hip.

Another great advantage to this innovative approach is that the hip is much more stable. Preserving the short rotator muscles of the hip greatly enhances the stability of the hip and greatly decreases the chance of dislocation. In fact, the risk of dislocation is felt to be less than 1% and postoperative range of motion restrictions are felt to be unnecessary. It is quite possible, and expected, to walk the day of surgery. In fact, those who have hip replacement through the anterior approach as an outpatient at the Georgia Bone & Joint’s Surgery Center walk into their home the same day.

The implants available for this procedure have continued to improve to the point that, for most people, we can offer a hip replacement that is likely to last their lifetime. The breakthrough in technology in recent years has been the plastic. The plastic is now treated in a way that greatly increases its durability. In fact, younger patients are also electing for this procedure knowing that they have an excellent chance of 20 years or more of a pain-free function of the hip.

Candidates for this procedure are those patients that have exhausted conservative measures for their hip arthritis. As the cartilage of the ball and socket joint of the hip wears out with the progression of arthritis, pain increases as the underlying bone structure become stressed and the joint lining becomes inflamed. Typically, my patients come to me when their hip pain is interfering with their lifestyle. Common statements are: “I can’t play golf as I would like”, “I can’t go for walk in the neighborhood with my spouse”, “the pain wakes me up at night” and, “I think twice about vacations or seeing my
grandchildren”. Hip replacement patients can expect to get back to a very active lifestyle. Patients can return to vigorous walking and hiking. Golfer’s and tennis players can return to those activities. Many of my patients return to the gym and get back on the elliptical trainer or treadmill or stair climber.

Total hip replacement is one of the great success stories in medicine. In fact, knee and hip replacement are considered to be two of the most successful surgeries done today. Nationally, less than 20 percent of hip replacements are done anteriorly but enthusiasm for the procedure continues to grow. I am excited to be able to provide this cutting-edge service to our local community. This procedure perfectly reflects my philosophy of orthopedic care. It applies the sports medicine principles of less invasive surgery, rapid recovery and restoration of function to the aging athlete and non-athlete alike. It has been exciting to implement this new approach and I look forward to continued advancements in this ever improving area of orthopedics.

If you’re interested in this procedure for you for your family member, please visit us at the offices of Georgia Bone and Joint in Newnan or Peachtree City. For an appointment, please call 770-502-2175.
Again, we offer this procedure as an outpatient at the Georgia Bone & Joint’s Surgery Center in Newnan as well as with a short inpatient stay at Piedmont Newnan and Piedmont Fayette hospitals. I recently had the
opportunity to discuss anterior hip replacement on the Piedmont website and one of my patients was highlighted as well. You can view the videos here: Anterior Hip Approach and A New Lease on Life.

A video explaining the procedure is available on our website: Anterior Total Hip Replacement.

Dr. Michael Gruber is an orthopedic surgeon, sports medicine and joint placement specialist at Georgia Bone and Joint. More information is available at Georgia Bone & Joint.