Looking back on her procedure and recovery, Mary Ann says she made the right decision for her needs and encourages others to consider the anterior approach solution.
“I would say the way to go is to have the anterior approach to the hip replacement because it was so easy. I wouldn’t be afraid to have it done.”
How Is an Outpatient Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement Different?
The anterior approach total hip replacement is different because the surgeon makes a small incision on the front of the hip, rather than at the back of the hip with the traditional posterior approach. This smaller incision does less damage to the buttocks muscles and tissue surrounding the hip joint, helping to complete the surgery faster and minimize the risk of infection in the operating room.
The anterior approach’s smaller incision offers patients several benefits compared to a traditional total hip replacement including:
- Reduced recovery time
- Less pain
- Less restriction to movement following surgery
- Increased mobility
- Less scar tissue
The anterior approach incision is made much closer to the hip joint than with the posterior approach. Less tissue gets damaged between the skin and the underlying bony structures.
During the surgery, the soft tissue is handled to assure the muscles and the tendons are not detached from the bone, which speeds up recovery time.
What Does Recovery Involve After Anterior Approach Hip Replacement?
Recovery after anterior approach total hip replacement will vary from person to person based on their condition. Many patients will spend one or two days in the hospital during initial recovery.
A physical therapist will help the patient sit up and walk slowly as soon as possible to increase blood flow throughout the body. Physical therapy will continue for several weeks to strengthen hip muscles, increase the range of motion and to get the patient used to the new hip joint. He or she will also work to achieve full balance again and to have muscles and tendons regain flexibility.
Most patients will start using a walker right away for the first one to two weeks after surgery to help them walk, stand and apply weight to the new hip. Many individuals then switch to using a cane for one week to ten days. Most can resume normal, light activity in two to three weeks after surgery
Mary Ann remembers Dr. Jones visited her two times at the hospital after surgery to answer questions and make sure her initial recovery was on track. She had two weeks of physical therapy visits at her house, followed by four weeks of physical therapy at the South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine facility.
Mary Ann says her surgery four months ago was so effective that she has forgotten about the strong pain she felt after breaking her hip.
“Most of the time I don’t even think about it anymore, and it’s been like that for two months.”
How Effective Is Anterior Approach Total Hip Replacement?
The success of an anterior approach total hip replacement varies based on the patient’s circumstances, but most individuals will make a full recovery in four to six weeks. The patient should experience no pain or greatly reduced pain once fully healed, compared to their discomfort before surgery. He or she will need to continue exercising after the hip replacement to maintain strength and flexibility in the hip. Low-impact routines involving walking, biking or swimming are effective exercises.
A study published in 2019 in the medical journal The Lancet found 70 percent of total hip replacements lasted 20 years and almost 90 percent lasted 15 years.
Mary Ann says her anterior approach total hip replacement was an effective treatment for her, and she got great care from Dr. Jones’ medical staff. Mary Ann recalls that Dr. Jones explained the procedure ahead of time, drew pictures to demonstrate what he was talking about and showed her X-rays before and after surgery.
This recovered patient has advice for others who might need a total hip replacement.
“I would definitely recommend Dr. Jones, definitely. I really liked him.”