Using a Direct Anterior Approach for Hip Replacement

Hip replacement, no matter how minimally invasive, is major surgery. During hip replacement, your doctor must get past the muscle and soft tissue that supports the hip joint to access the bones of the joint. They do this either from the side, the back, or the front of your body. The Direct Anterior Approach is one of the minimally invasive techniques used in total hip replacement surgery accessing the joint from the front.

Not all hip surgeons perform the direct anterior approach. Orthopaedic surgeon Nathan Turnbull, MD performs direct anterior hip replacement surgeries at Florida Orthopaedic Associates. Dr. Turnbull was trained in the anterior approach during his fellowship with Joint Implant Surgeons, Inc. in Ohio. It is his preferred approach for hip replacements.

The type of hip replacement a patient may need can vary. If you are curious about the direct anterior approach, here are some questions to consider before speaking with a surgeon.

What is the direct anterior approach for hip replacement?

Traditional hip replacement techniques involve operating from the side (lateral) or the back (posterior) of the hip.

In comparison, the direct anterior approach uses an incision located at the front of the hip. In this position, the surgeon splits the soft tissue to access the hip joint and perform the joint replacement.

What are the benefits of the direct anterior hip approach?

The anterior hip approach has proven to be a successful operation for surgeons trained in this approach. We are proud that Florida Orthopaedic Associates has surgeons trained to customize your treatment depending on your individual needs.

What are the risks of the direct anterior hip replacement?

With a 10-year success rate of 90-95%, hip replacement surgery is one of the safest and most effective operations you can have. But all surgical procedures carry some risks.

One risk of hip surgery, in general, is hip dislocation, especially in the weeks after the operation. A risk of surgery unique to the direct anterior hip approach is a numbness of the skin in the front of your thigh. This can occur because of stretching in the skin nerves. It typically resolves after a few months.

Our Individualized Approach

With most hip replacements—and many surgeries—the risks have less to do with the surgical approach than with the patient’s general health. Although the direct anterior approach may make sense for some patients, only your surgeon can help you decide what is best for you. It is important to talk with your doctor if you have any questions about the direct anterior approach for total hip replacement or hip replacement in general.