Making Hip Pain a Thing of the Past
For many people, hip pain has become part of their daily life. This pain may be the result of many things, including arthritis or perhaps a fracture that occurred earlier in life. As a result of this pain, you may find yourself having difficulty enjoying normal, everyday activities. Fortunately, medical advancements in hip replacements are being made that may help you regain a more active lifestyle, with a shorter hospital stay and a faster recovery time.
While there are three main approaches to hip replacement — lateral (side), anterior (front) and posterior (backside) — the anterior approach has become an increasingly popular procedure over the last decade. The anterior approach replaces the hip through 3- to 4-inch incisions in the front of the leg, which has many advantages during and after the procedure.
“The major advantage of the anterior hip replacement procedure is the fact that muscle tendons are not detached,” says Eric Grossman, M.D., FAAOS, orthopedic surgeon, joint replacement specialist, and Co-Director of Joint Replacement at Northern Westchester Hospital’s Orthopedic and Spine Institute. “The anterior approach doesn’t affect the gluteal muscles that are instrumental to walking, so patients recover more quickly, while also enjoying the benefits of not having to abide by "hip precautions" which limit a patient’s activity during the early recovery process.” Most patients after having a total hip replacement are directed to follow "hip precautions" that require sleeping with a pillow between their legs, not bending at the waist past 90 degrees, not crossing their legs, not internally rotating and not sitting on any low seats.
Since the anterior approach was developed to spare major muscles and tendons, patients have a lower risk for hip dislocation and many can regain mobility more quickly. After undergoing an anterior approach hip replacement, patients typically go home after a 1-2 day hospital stay and avoid needing inpatient rehabilitation.
“With an anterior hip replacement procedure, patients tend to experience less pain and typically stand and take a few steps the same day as surgery. In many cases, patients are able to be up and moving about with some assistance from a cane the day after surgery,” says Dr. Grossman.
However, the anterior approach may not be appropriate for all patients, so it’s important to discuss the details of the procedure with your surgeon to see if it’s the best approach for your specific condition.
Eric L. Grossman, MD, FAAOS, is a board certified, fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in joint reconstruction and replacement surgery. Dr. Grossman is a member of the Mount Kisco Medical Group and is Co-Director of Joint Replacement Surgery at Northern Westchester Hospital.
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