Doctor explaining how surgery work

What is the anterior approach for total hip replacement?

If you are experiencing debilitating osteoarthritis pain in your hip and you’ve tried everything, a total hip replacement can restore function and decrease pain.

The contemporary approaches for hip replacement surgery are posterior, anterolateral and the anterior minimally invasive approach. When performed well, all of these approaches are likely to have an excellent result.

My preference is to perform the anterior, minimally invasive approach for nearly all hip replacements. This is a technique that I teach to other surgeons and am quite passionate about.

My preference is due to the potential benefits of less pain, quick recovery, lower dislocation risk and a smaller scar(1,2,3,4). Obviously, all approaches have potential complications as well.

In conjunction with your GP, choose a surgeon who is highly skilled in their preferred approach, not based on which approach they perform.

Your surgeon should make you feel comfortable with their recommended approach.

Always ask your surgeon the number of these procedures they perform and their outcomes. Never be afraid to ask for a second opinion if you are not comfortable.


[1] What‘s new in hip arthroplasty; MH Huo et al; JBJS Am; 2005 Sep, 87(9):2133-46

[2] Single-incision anterior approach for total hip arthroplasty on an orthopaedic table; JM Matta et al; Clin Orthop Relat Res, 2005 Dec, (441): 115-24

[3] Minimally Invasive total hip arthroplasty: anterior approach; F. Rachbauer; Orthopäde, 2006 Jul;35(7):723-4, 726-9

[4] Mini-incision anterior approach does not increase dislocation rate: a study of 1037 total hip Replacement; T Siguier et al; Clin Orthop Relat Res,2004 Sep, (426): 164-73

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