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In the past, total hip replacements required a large incision through your buttock or side in order to access your joint. However, advancements in technology and techniques make it possible to replace hips in a far less invasive way — through the front of your hip.

At Utah Orthopedics in Ogden, Utah, Thomas Calton, MD, specializes in advanced hip and knee replacement surgeries, including anterior hip replacements. In this blog, he explains what sets this technique apart and when to consider this approach.

Anterior hip replacement basics

Unlike a traditional hip replacement, Dr. Calton performs anterior hip replacements by making a small incision on the front of your hip. This approach allows him to avoid making a large incision and cutting through muscles and ligaments.

During your procedure, you lie on a specialized operating table and receive regional or general anesthesia. Dr. Calton often uses regional anesthetic for outpatient hip replacement procedures, because they numb your lower body instead of completely sedating you, as is the case with general anesthesia.

When your anesthesia takes effect, Dr. Calton sterilizes the surgical site and makes a small incision in front of your hip joint. He uses this opening to insert special tools to separate your muscles and perform your procedure. One of these tools is a fluoroscope, which is a digital imaging tool that enables him to see the surgical site.

After accessing your hip joint, Dr. Calton removes the “ball” of your femur (the upper part of your leg bone) along with the damaged bone and cartilage in the “socket” portion of your pelvis. He then replaces these parts of your hip with new, artificial components.

What to expect after your surgery

Once Dr. Calton completes your joint replacement, he closes your incisions, and you head to recovery while your anesthesia wears off. If you undergo an outpatient hip replacement surgery, you can usually go home an hour or two after your surgery. Otherwise, you’re moved to a hospital room.

Whether you have an outpatient procedure or one that requires a hospital stay, you typically begin putting weight on your new hip almost immediately after your surgery. In about 4-6 weeks, you should have the strength and mobility to perform daily tasks like you did before your procedure. However, it can take up to three months to heal enough for a lot of standing, walking, or heavy lifting.

The benefits of anterior hip replacement surgery

One of the main advantages of an anterior hip replacement involves its minimally invasive approach. Since muscles and tendons don’t get cut, you can expect:

  • Less pain
  • Increased mobility and functionality
  • An easier and faster recovery
  • Fewer restrictions post-surgery
  • Less risk of hip dislocation after your procedure

You also have fewer chances of having different leg lengths after your hip replacement. While an anterior approach has numerous benefits, it’s not the best option for everyone.

The best candidates for anterior hip replacement surgery

Anterior hip replacements provide great results for most people. However, it’s not an ideal solution for those who have implants or other devices in their hip from past procedures.

Other factors that can impact the viability of an anterior hip replacement include:

  • Having a wide pelvis
  • Being severely obese
  • Being very muscular

Dr. Calton can determine which type of hip replacement is the best approach for you to ensure optimal results.

To learn more about hip replacement surgery and to find out about your options, book an appointment over the phone with Utah Orthopedics today.

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