Closeup side view of early 30's doctor examining a hip of a senior gentleman during an appointment. The doctor is gently lifting patient's leg sideways

There are three surgical approaches to an arthroplasty, or total hip replacement––the front, or anterior; the back, or posterior; and the side, or lateral. Since its inception in 1960, hip replacement surgery is the one of the most successful surgeries performed. From that time until now, the majority of orthopaedic surgeons perform posterior hip replacements. But at Great Lakes Orthopaedic Center (GLOC), our board-certified hip and knee specialists also successfully perform the less-invasive anterior hip replacement on an ongoing basis.

What Is This Approach?

When your hip joint becomes damaged or diseased, more than likely your quality of life decreases due to pain, as well as lack of mobility and range of motion. Most causes for hip replacement are arthritis (both rheumatoid and osteo), injury, fracture, osteonecrosis (or avascular necrosis), and bone tumors. Once all other curative avenues have been exhausted, total hip replacement may become necessary.

If this is the case for you, after thorough consultations with our orthopaedic specialists, we will plan and schedule your surgery. Since our patients who have undergone anterior hip replacement surgery have recovered sooner and with less complications, as well as research supporting this outcome, our surgeons increasingly prefer the anterior approach with qualified patients.

Your hip joint is a ball-and-socket joint primarily involving your femur/thighbone, femoral head/ball, acetabulum/pelvic cavity, and cartilage/protective tissue. The artificial joint replaces these parts with metal, plastic, and/or ceramic elements. With specialized instrumentation, our surgeons make a small incision to the front of your leg, moving your muscle and ligaments, rather than needing to cut through them, and remove your damaged joint. They prepare the socket and femur for the new joint, then proceed with the replacement.

Benefits of the Anterior Approach

Though anterior hip replacement surgery has existed since the 1980s, it has really been perfected in more recent years. Due to increased knowledge, escalated experience, and improved techniques, the benefits to this approach are highly touted and patients are happier than ever with their overall process.

Particularly when compared to posterior surgery, here are some of the more pronounced benefits our GLOC specialists witness:

• Less major-muscle damage
• Quicker recovery
• Less pain post surgery
• Shorter hospital stay
• Smaller chance of hip dislocations
• Better range of motion sooner
• Smaller incision, smaller scar

Post-Operative Expectations

As with any hip replacement surgery, you will need to strictly adhere to any physical and occupational therapy recommendations for a successful recovery. You also need to follow any restrictions for the length of time they are recommended. After a full recovery, you can expect your anterior joint replacement to last ten to 20-plus years.

At GLOC, we are proud of our highly innovative and certified hip and knee specialists. Not only can you expect the newest technology and knowledge from us, you can expect the best care. Because we care.


Office Hours: Mon.–Fri., 8 a.m.–5 p.m.