There are several different ways for surgeons to perform hip replacements. No matter which approach is utilized, hip replacement is generally a very reliable and successful operation. Traditionally, surgeons have used a posterior (from the back) approach, which involves splitting some muscles around the hip and detaching some other muscles and tendons. The muscles and tendons are repaired at the end of the procedure, but it takes about 12 weeks for these tissues to heal, so there are movement restrictions for this time frame after surgery to help prevent hip dislocation.
Over the past decade or more, the anterior (from the front) approach has been used increasingly for hip replacements. This approach involves dissecting between the muscles to access the hip joint, rather than splitting or detaching them. Reported benefits of the anterior approach for hip replacement include:
- No movement restrictions after surgery
- Decreased pain after surgery
- Shorter hospital stay
- Smaller incisions
- Faster return to activities like unassisted walking, walking for exercise, etc
- Use of real-time x-ray during surgery ensures excellent component placement
- Reduced dislocation risk
Dr Blackman uses the anterior approach for the vast majority of the hip replacements he performs due to the benefits mentioned above. He has performed hundreds of these procedures and almost every patient in need of a hip replacement is a candidate for this approach.
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