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Anterior Hip Replacement

Running, Horseback Riding after Anterior Hip Replacement

Nancy Kehoe 

Nancy Kehoe experienced chronic pain from two arthritic hips before having anterior hip replacement surgery at UC San Diego Health.

UC San Diego Health performs anterior hip replacements, a specialized approach not widely available. This type of joint replacement can provide relief to people with osteoarthritis and other forms of degenerative joint disease.

Only about 15 percent of top joint centers in the nation have the expertise and technology to perform this muscle-sparing procedure.

With the anterior approach, the incision is made in the front (anterior) of the hip, as opposed to the side (lateral) or back (posterior). The anterior approach allows the surgeon to work in between a natural muscle plane without detaching muscles or tendons from the hip or thigh bone.

This can help avoid undue trauma to the surrounding tissue. The anterior approach is performed on a specialized surgical table. This surgical table helps to position the hip and thigh. It also allows the surgeon to capture images during surgery. These images are used to confirm that the hip replacement implants are precisely placed.

Benefits of Anterior Hip Replacement

From the patient experience perspective:

  • Muscle sparing – No cutting through the gluteal and adductor muscle groups. In traditional hip replacement approaches, large incisions are made in these muscles. By going in between the muscles, the anterior approach results in less pain.
  • Fast recovery  Research has shown patients are released from the hospital sooner and recover faster after anterior hip replacement. 
  • Increased stability – In an anterior hip replacement, there is little disruption of the hip capsule or muscles. This means that after surgery, you have full movement and flexibility.
  • Reduced risk of dislocation – Anterior hip replacement has been shown to have a lower risk of hip dislocation after surgery compared to traditional hip replacement approaches.

From the surgeon's perspective, anterior hip replacement allows for unmatched visibility through intraoperative fluoroscopy and computerized navigation. Imaging during surgery provides live feedback to ensure hyper-accuracy in the placement of joint components. Computerized navigation transmits precision mapping of the surgical field. All of this means a better joint fit for the patient, fast recovery and fewer reoperations.

Why Choose UC San Diego Health for Anterior Hip Replacement?

UC San Diego Health performs approximately 150 anterior hip replacements a year – more than any other medical center in the region. Our doctors are fellowship-trained in anterior hip replacement. UC San Diego Health is fully equipped with leading-edge specialized equipment, including Hana tables, computerized navigation, robotic systems and intraoperative imaging capability.

Online Second Opinions of Hip Joint X-Rays or MRIs

If you have X-rays or an MRI of your hip and would like one of our orthopedists to review your images, UC San Diego Health offers online imaging reviews. It's an easy and affordable way to help you make an informed decision about hip surgery. For more information, see Online Second Opinions for Hip Replacement or Resurfacing.