The anterior approach involves reaching the hip joint through a natural gap in the muscles at the front of the leg. Here we look at the advantages and disadvantages of this approach.
Proponents of the frontal approach argue that: -
A special operating table is required to perform the operation with the patients legs attached to the table. The table is then turned to allow the prosthesis to be inserted. This makes it difficult for the surgeon to know how much force is being exerted during the procedure and as a result an increase in hip fractures have been reported to occur during the procedure.
X-ray equipment is used to ensure correct alignment of the implant. If the X-ray equipment is not positioned correctly there is an increased risk of the implant being badly positioned,
It is possible that damage may occur to surrounding muscles or nerves during the insertion of the implant
More recently some surgeons have withdrawn from using the technique. Partly because a minimally invasive approach means the surgeon finds it harder to see and feel what he is doing and partly because there are concerns about revision rates.
I should also add that although the initial recovery period is quicker with the anterior approach other patients soon catch up and after a few months there is no difference in progress.
Surgery is easier to understand visually than verbally so here is a great little video of the procedure. Its graphical video not one of a live operation.
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