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A Patient's Guide to the Direct Anterior Approach in Hip Replacement

A Patient's Guide to the Direct Anterior Approach in Hip Replacement
A Patient's Guide to the Direct Anterior Approach in Hip Replacement

A Patient's Guide to the Direct Anterior Approach in Hip Replacement

The new era in hip replacement has arrived with the Direct Anterior Approach. This surgical game-changer has benefits for many patients. The anterior approach can be integrated with robotic technology, giving patients a pathway to faster recovery and improved quality of life. Let's explore what you can expect before, during and after minimally invasive hip replacement.

Before the Procedure: Optimize Your Treatment Outcome

Your journey begins with a thorough evaluation. This will include a review of your medical history, a physical examination, and imaging tests to assess if this surgical approach is suitable for you. To ensure a positive outcome:

  • Optimize Your Weight: If you are overweight, shedding the extra pounds can reduce the stress on the new hip joint. You should be a healthy weight before surgery.
  • Prehabilitation Hip Exercises: Engaging in physical therapy before surgery can help to strengthen the muscles around the hip.
  • Strengthen Your Upper Body: It's also important to strengthen the upper body to make it easier to use crutches or a walker after surgery.
  • Stop Smoking: Smokers face a considerably increased likelihood of experiencing complications after surgery, such as, higher infection rates and slower or problematic healing of wounds compared to non-smokers.1

During the Procedure: No Cutting of the Hip Muscles

The surgery is performed under anesthesia so you won’t feel any pain. A small incision is made in the front of the hip and the muscles are parted to access the hip joint without cutting them. Frontal entry allows the surgeon to access your hip joint by separating muscles, rather than splitting them. The damaged cartilage and bone is removed, and robotic technology used to accurately and precisely place the implants. The procedure is usually completed in 1-2 hours.

After the Procedure: Faster Recovery with Minimal Restrictions

The anterior approach procedure is typically favored among patients, with less postoperative pain due to muscle and ligament preservation. Most patients can use their new hip the same day after the procedure, under the direction of their care team’s post operative protocols. The following precautions can help speed up the recovery process:

  • Home Safety: Ensure your home environment is safe to navigate, with clear pathways and no tripping hazards to prevent falls. Consider adding bathroom rails or renting safety equipment, and keep the things that you need to use everyday within reach.
  • Pain Management: Take medications as prescribed to manage pain and inflammation. Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Gabapentin are most commonly used to help you recover. Most patients will not need narcotics.
  • Physical Therapy: Stay motivated with a positive attitude and engage in prescribed physical therapy exercises. This will start at home and is an important factor in restoring your strength and mobility.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Your body needs proper nutrients to recover after surgery. Avoid smoking and maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine for optimal health and recovery.

Dr. Charles Claps is committed to providing the best possible results using the direct anterior approach with the Mako robot for hip replacement. Dr. Clap’s goal is to redefine joint health and improve patient outcomes with minimally invasive robotic technology. If you or a loved one suffer from hip pain and are considering hip replacement, contact Dr. Claps for an expert evaluation of your hip condition.

AUTHOR: Charles Claps, DO is a board-certified fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in robotic assisted joint replacement surgery at Resurgens Orthopaedics in Atlanta. Dr. Claps is an industry leader in Mako Robotic Assisted Hip and Knee replacement across Georgia, and an active member of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons, the American Association of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the American Osteopathic Academy of Orthopedics.

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