hip replacement surgery, renewed

The decision to have hip replacement surgery comes down to this: You can give up some of the things you love to do and live with chronic hip pain, or you can give up months of your life recovering from surgery. At FWO, we like to ask, “What if you didn’t have to sacrifice anything?”

The anterior hip approach, available at Fort Wayne Orthopedics, makes it possible. You can be up and around in a matter of days, and return to normal life in as a little as two weeks. With less pain, a shorter recovery time – and fewer restrictions than other hip replacement procedures.


If you suffer from arthritis, or any chronic hip issues, don’t let anyone tell you that the anterior hip approach isn’t right for you until you call Fort Wayne Orthopedics. We’ll be glad to walk you through the process, answer your questions – and most importantly get you back to doing the things you love. Call us today at (800) 566-5659.

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The anterior approach is nothing new. As a matter of fact, in the world of orthopedic surgery, the anterior approach is old news. Since the late 1800’s, this procedure has been widely used to treat hip and pelvis fractures.
The first actual anterior hip replacement was performed in 1947 by French surgeon, Robert Judet. Almost 50 years later Joel Matta, a surgeon in Southern California refined this technique for use in the US. Impressed by the lack of post-surgical trauma and dramatically reduced recovery time, Dr. Matta began to perform anterior hip replacements regularly. Surprisingly, today only a small percentage of surgeons perform hip replacement using the anterior approach. The hip surgeons at FWO have undergone special training to provide this procedure for our patients her in the midwest.


Unlike other procedures, the anterior approach allows the surgeon to access the hip joint from the front, rather than the side (lateral) or back (posterior). A small incision allows the surgeon to take advantage of a natural interval between muscles.


This preservation of the hip joint and the surrounding ligaments and muscles give the anterior approach a distinct advantage in recovery time and post-operative performance.


Typical recovery time for the anterior approach averages anywhere from 2-6 weeks. The initial post-operative hospital stay is no more than a couple days. As a matter of fact, 80% of our anterior hip replacement patients go home the next day to continue their recovery.


Post-operative performance of the anterior hip approach is outstanding. Because the lateral and posterior soft tissues are left intact, the hip is immediately stabilized, and the risk of dislocation is lowered. Normally, patients undergoing posterior incisions have to follow strict precautions that limit hip motion for the first two months after surgery. Most importantly, they are instructed to limit hip flexion to no more than 90 degrees. These limitations complicate their daily activities such as sitting in a chair or on the toilet or just getting in a car. Following the anterior approach, however, patients are immediately allowed to bend their hip freely and to avoid the inconvenience of these restrictions.

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Why is recovery from the Anterior Approach so much shorter?
The anterior approach allows the surgeon to perform hip replacement without damaging or cutting any muscles or tendons. The hip suffers significantly less trauma, and the patient recovers faster.
What advantages does an Anterior Hip Replacement have over traditional methods?
The anterior approach significantly reduces the risk of hip dislocation after surgery. Also, after traditional procedures, patients have to deal with strict precautions and limitations in hip positioning and range of motion. For example, they must sleep and sit with an abduction wedge for 6-12 weeks after the surgery. With an anterior hip replacement, there are NO precautions.
If the anterior approach is so much better than conventional methods, why don’t all surgeons perform it?
Good question. The most common reason is that most surgeons simply don’t know how to do it. The majority of hip replacements in this country are performed using the posterior approach, so that is how an orthopedic resident in training is most likely to learn it. Only a small percentage of orthopedic residents are at training programs that frequently perform Anterior Hip Replacements. FWO commits significant time and resources to stay at the forefront of orthopedic medicine. When we learned the advantages of the anterior approach, we made it a priority to learn it. Today, we perform more anterior hip replacements than any other practice in Indiana.
Time is also a factor. Anterior hip replacements are done under more controlled conditions and extra time is spent taking x-rays and checking for correct implant positioning and leg lengths. Because of this, an anterior hip takes twice as long to perform as conventional procedures. For many surgeons, this is not financially acceptable. On average, it takes about 45-60 minutes to perform a conventional hip replacement.
Is Anterior Hip Replacement “new” or “experimental”?
The short answer? No. The anterior approach has been used since the 1800’s to treat hip and pelvis fractures. The first anterior hip replacement in the United States was performed in 1996. Since that time, thousands of anterior hip replacements have been performed with outstanding results.