A posterior hip replacement is the most traditional of all the approaches to hip replacement surgery.  The incision is made just behind the hip joint and allows the surgeon to view the hip joint clearly.  However there are some disadvantages as well, which we will explain below.

The term 'surgical approach' refers to the place on your hip that the surgeon uses to access your hip joint

Advantages of a Posterior Hip Replacement

This is a very versatile surgical approach to hip replacement surgery and can be used in situations where other approaches would not work e.g.,

  • Where there are existing implants within the hip
  • Where the structure of the hip is unusual or deformed

In addition, the incision can be lengthened to allow for more complex surgical work to be carried out.

This approach is suitable for most types of implant

It allows the surgeon the best view of the hip whilst he is working on it

Disadvantages of a
Posterior Hip Replacement

The principal disadvantage of a posterior hip replacement is that it is associated with a higher rate of post-operative dislocations

During surgery some of the muscles and tendons are cut away from the hip joint before being reattached.  This may contribute to the higher rate of dislocation.

The procedure involves cutting and detaching more muscles than other approaches and this may lead to longer recovery times and more post-operative pain.

How is the Posterior Hip Replacement Carried Out?

Access to the hip joint is through a 25cm – 30cm (10” – 12”) curved incision made beside or just behind the hip.  Once the incision is made the surgeon cuts through the muscles between the skin and the hip joint before detaching those muscles attached to the joint itself.

The next step is similar to other approaches.  A semi-circular cup is implanted into the socket  (pelvic) side and the inside of the femur is hollowed out to allow for the placement of the metal stem.  A ball  (metal or ceramic) is attached to the external end of the stem and this completes the new joint.

The surgeon then reattaches the muscles to the joint and repairs any that have been cut through, before closing the incision.

There is great video on YouTube showing this approach however it is a real life ops, so probably not suited for the squeamish.


Learn more about:

Different types of Anesthetics
Different types of Hip Implants 
The debate around the Best Time for Hip Replacement Surgery

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