This article is part of the Essential Guide to Hip Pain Relief.
Most of the time, hip pain and stiffness starts as a minor nuisance then—as time passes—worsens and begins to inhibit you from doing ordinary, day-to-day things pain-free as your hip joint deteriorates.
Making the decision to go ahead with hip replacement surgery to cure a problem hip involves considering which factors are causing your pain. That’s why, before proposing anterior hip replacement surgery, your orthopedic doctor may attempt to treat your hip pain nonsurgically.
Potential alternative treatments for short-term relief from hip pain might include:
- Starting a customized exercise regime (developed to strengthen and stretch your hip muscles to improve stability and reduce pain)
- Taking NSAIDs (e.g., aspirin or ibuprofen), acetaminophen, or corticosteroid medications (e.g., prednisone or cortisone)
- Applying ointments
- Using a cane or walker when you walk (to take some of the stress off your hip and support your weight)
When non-surgical treatment methods stop providing results, your orthopedic doctor might recommend hip replacement surgery to reduce your discomfort and restore your mobility. For many patients, hip replacement surgery offers lasting relief, with 90% of prosthetic hips still functioning after 20 years and 70% still working correctly for 30 years.
What happens during an anterior total hip replacement
In the most simple terms, a surgeon replaces the damaged bones in your hip joint with an artificial hip during an anterior approach hip replacement (also sometimes referred to as the “mini-anterior approach” or a “muscle-sparing hip replacement”). But, there are a lot of steps that go on—before, in between, and after—to ensure you have a successful surgery.
Before the operation begins, you receive anesthesia medication so that you don’t feel any pain when your surgeon removes the ball of your thigh bone and any damaged cartilage or bone on the socket of your hip bone before attaching your artificial hip.
Your surgeon will make sure that everything is in place just so before closing the incision to help prevent potential dislocation.
Benefits of an anterior hip replacement surgery
In addition to being a minimally-invasive, this procedure offers several advantages and results that are equal to (or better than!) other more traditional forms of hip replacement surgery.
Patients who undergo an anterior approach hip replacement:
- Recover quicker (since your surgeon will do minimal or no muscle cutting)
- Feel less pain
- Experience more functionality (and fewer post-surgery restrictions on your activity)
- Reduce your risk of hip dislocation
Caring for your hip after hip replacement surgery
Initially, while you’re healing, it’s crucial to take it easy and follow guidelines from your surgeon (like avoiding hip bending at an angle greater than 90 degrees) that will help keep your new artificial hip in position. You’ll work closely with a physical therapist, too, doing exercises that strengthen the muscles around your new hip and promote healing. They will also answer questions you have and provide advice for getting back to doing day-to-day things safely while you’re in the midst of the healing process.
Orthopedic care at Logansport Memorial Hospital
Don’t let your problem hip keep you from doing what you love. Whether you’ve exhausted alternative treatment methods and are ready to talk to an expert about surgical options or if you’ve just started to notice some aches and stiffness, we can help get back in the swing of things while providing relief from pain and improved mobility.
The anterior approach to hip replacement is a technically demanding and challenging type of surgery, and the orthopedic surgeons at Logansport Memorial Hospital are experts in this procedure. Make an appointment to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of this specific approach to treating hip pain over alternative surgical and nonsurgical options.
Call our care team at 574.753.7541.