Hip Replacement – Anterior Approach

We realize, that whether you are just beginning to explore treatment options or have made the decision to have hip replacement surgery you need solid, clear information.

Joint replacement is a type of surgery that involves either partially or fully replacing a joint that typically due to arthritis or diseased of the bone. The replacement is a specialized implant designed to return your joint to the best possible function.

Hip replacement is a common joint replacement surgery. Hip Replacement can successfully completed from a number of approaches.

You should discuss the type of approach with your doctor. The approach that is taken primarily depends on what is best for the individual patient based on their anatomy, doctor training, disease state of the hip and the type of hip that is being used to replace the diseased hip.

Anterior Approach for Hip Replacement

History of the Anterior Approach

The Anterior Approach for hip replacement was originated in 1947 and has been used since that time. Recently, the anterior approach has gained increased prominence in news and journals.

Diagram of Anterior Approach Incisions

As can be seen from the diagrams below, the anterior approach is primarily from the front of the hip.

Benefits of the Anterior Approach for Hip Replacement

We offer the anterior approach option for patients considering hip replacement surgery.

The anterior approach is an advanced surgical technique in which an incision is made in the front of the hip. The overall health of the patient and the joint are factors that will impact outcome but typically the anterior approach results in less trauma to the hip muscles and faster recovery with decreased hospital stays.

Minimally Invasive Anterior Hip Replacement

Like all hip replacements the Anterior Approach can be done with a minimally invasive procedure. The minimally invasive approach typically results in a smaller incision, less damage to muscles and a faster recovery time.

Let’s take a more detailed look at the anterior approach to hip replacement:

  • allows the hip joint to be replaced with less distress or detaching of  muscle from the pelvis or femur
  • faster restoration of normal movement
  • faster return to normal activities
  • decreased risk of dislocation
  • a smaller incision
  • more precise and accurate leg length
  • fewer days in the hospital

Comparison of the Anterior Hip Approach and the Posterior Hip Approach

I recently gave a lecture on the latest developments in hip and knee replacement. Below is a summary comparing the Anterior Hip Replacement Approach and the Posterior Hip Replacement Approaches.

Anterior Approach

Posterior Approach


Smith-Peterson    1947 Older approach

Incision   Length

8-10   cm 8-10   cm

Blood   Loss

 Equivalent  Equivalent
Muscle   preservation  Split   Tensor,   Reflect Rectus muscle, cut  Piriformis muscle  Split GluteusCut and repair Piriformis
Potential Nerve Impact Lateral   Femoral Cutaneous   Sciatic/Peroneal
Risk of Improper Implant Positioning  Higher   Femur  Higher   Acetabulum
Dislocation  Lower risk
Postoperative   Precautions  None needed  None needed
Hospital   Stay  No Difference   No   Difference
Leg Length  More Accurate
Minimally Invasive  yes  yes

If you click on the image below it will open to a large, easy to read chart:

Comparison between Anterior Approach Hip Replacement and Posterior Approach Hip Replacement

Discussing the approach of hip replacement surgery is an important step in considering surgery.

Dr. Davenport has completed 1000s of hip surgeries and replacements and is one of the few orthopedic surgeons who has completed a Fellowship in advanced surgical treatments of the hip. Dr. Davenport is available and happy to discuss any questions you may have about your hip health and any of the hip surgery approaches.

Should you need more information, we are available to discuss your hip health and decisions. Please give us a call at 580-353-8600 to schedule an appointment.