Taking steps to be pain free
The pain was so bad Victor couldn’t make it through the day: “I would walk ten steps and my legs would start hurting. This went on for four years.” He realized new shoes weren’t enough. He needed a lasting solution. So, he went to see his doctor.
His care team recommended a hip replacement, but not just any hip replacement. Victor had a choice. He could have a more traditional hip replacement surgery or he might benefit from an anterior approach hip replacement surgery—an approach that would get him back on his feet faster.
What are your hip replacement options?
With the help of Dr. Feliciano, Victor evaluated his hip replacement options. “I tell patients that I like to contrast the two surgeries: the posterior approach and the anterior approach,” says Dr. Feliciano. “I learn about my patients, and I work with them to determine what’s right for the best outcome.”
The difference between the two hip replacement surgeries comes down to where the incision is made. Traditional hip replacement (or posterior approach hip replacement) puts patients on their sides for surgery and approaches the hip joint by detaching tendons. The detached tendons are repaired and take time to heal after surgery.
Anterior hip replacement approaches the hip joint through the front of the thigh. Thus, eliminating the need to detach tendons. Because this approach is less disruptive to the muscles and tissues around the hip joint, patients can return to their normal activities more quickly.
What are the advantages of anterior hip replacement?
Both posterior and anterior hip replacements relieve pain. However, anterior hip replacement has several advantages:
- Avoid complications of muscles or tissue repair not healing properly.
- Increased chance of full functionality post-surgery.
- Improved early rehab and faster return to daily activities.
“If you’re having trouble, I say go to your doctor and find out the problem. Don’t be afraid,” advises Victor. Before his anterior hip replacement, pain kept him from climbing stairs or attending the Colts games he loves. “Now, I can do anything I want.”
Are anterior hip replacements very common?
Anterior hip replacement has been around for about twenty years, but not every orthopedic surgeon is trained in this approach. Dr. Feliciano has been doing anterior hip replacements for more than a decade because he sees how it directly benefits patients. “The first six weeks post-surgery go differently for anterior approach patients,” he says. “In their physical therapy, I see them get to stationary bikes and walking without assistance faster.”
If you’re considering an anterior hip replacement, Dr. Feliciano recommends talking to other patients and learning about their experience. Ask them how they feel. He also suggests asking your surgeon about his experience with the anterior approach.
“Ultimately, the success of every patient after hip replacement is really a combination of fine details that are managed individually for each patient,” according to Dr. Feliciano. “The Center for Joint Health does a tremendous job of meeting those individual needs.”