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Anterior hip replacement offers potentially less pain, faster recovery for patients

Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2011 12:00 pm | Updated: 12:42 pm, Tue Jun 28, 2011.

Anterior Hip Replacement index

Hip replacement surgery was first performed in 1960. Since then, it has become a common orthopedic procedure with more than 193,000 operations done each year in the United States. In the past, physicians typically recommended hip replacement for older patients because they tend to be less active and put less stress on the artificial hip compared to younger people. But today, the procedure also may be an option for those who are younger and more active due to technologically improved implants that can withstand more stress, endure more strain, and last longer.

The procedure to replace hips has changed with the times too. Traditionally, the operation to remove the head of the thighbone and replace the ball-and-socket mechanism in the hip with artificial implants was done making a 10- to 12-inch incision on the side of the hip. The muscles would then be detached from the hip, which would be dislocated. In recent years, however, a technique called anterior hip replacement has been refined so it is now being done through smaller incisions using specialized instrumentation so it is less traumatic for patients.

“With anterior hip replacement we make a smaller incision on the front of the hip and can access the joint between muscles, rather than cutting and then reattaching the muscles,” says Al Cuellar, M.D., orthopedic surgeon specializing in joint replacement and joint reconstruction on the medical staff at Houston Northwest Medical Center. “This allows for less soft-tissue dissection so that patients have less pain, a faster recovery and rehabilitation, and a lower risk of hip dislocation.”

Hip replacement surgery, whether traditional or using the anterior technique, is performed to help decrease pain, increase mobility, and improve quality of life. It may be recommended if other treatment methods, such as exercise, walking aids, medication, or injections are not effective. High-impact activities, including tennis, basketball and jogging, should be avoided after surgery. Instead, patients can walk, swim or ride a bicycle to increase muscle strength and improve cardiovascular health without injuring their new hip. For more information about total joint replacement at Houston Northwest Medical Center, visit www.hnmc.com/OrthopedicServices.


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