Muscle-Sparing Anterior Hip

Replacement Offers Speedy Recovery

Is the terrible pain of a worn-out hip starting to slow you down? The innovative front-of-the hip (anterior) approach to hip replacement, now available at Foothills Hospital, can help bring back normal, pain-free motion. You can be up and about in days, and return to your normal activities in as little as two weeks.

 Appointment ButtonA Less-Invasive Technique

In the Anterior Approach, the surgeon accesses the hip joint by making an incision at the front of the hip, near your groin. There is a natural opening in the muscles at this location, making it possible for the surgeon to reach the joint by pushing aside the muscles rather than cutting them. This provides the potential for a quick recovery with minimized discomfort.

Benefits of Anterior Hip Replacement

The Anterior Approach offers tremendous benefits for total hip replacement patients:


Hospital stay   1 to 2 days
Recovery time  2 to 6 weeks
Scar size  4 to 5 inches
Pain control during

 Pain pills or oral


One other important benefit of the Anterior Approach is a low risk of prosthesis dislocation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who is a candidate for the Anterior Approach?
Although the Anterior Approach makes sense for many patients, some individuals are not good candidates for the technique. It’s inappropriate for those who are more muscular, obese or have implants from a previous hip surgery. Talk with your surgeon about the best approach for your particular situation.

2. Are there any risks or disadvantages to this approach?
A unique risk of the Anterior Approach is the possibility of injuring a nerve near the incision. This can cause numbness, tingling or burning along the front of the leg. The problem can last a few months to two years. However, in rare cases the injury is permanent. Patients also run a slightly higher risk of experiencing femor and ankle fractures from a special surgical table used for the Anterior Approach.

3. When can I resume my normal activities?

The majority of patients get back to their usual activities very quickly. Most patients can walk without a cane, walker or crutches in as little as two weeks. However, for the first six weeks after the surgery, you’re advised to limit yourself to low-impact activities, such as riding an exercise bike or walking. 

4. How was the Anterior Approach developed?

Surgeons in Europe started performing the technique in the late 1940s. Since then, thousands of patients have benefited from the muscle-sparing approach. Its popularity in this country began to increase with improvements in techniques, implants and equipment. A special surgical table is one example of a recent advancement that has increased the use of the Anterior Approach in the United States.

5. Is physical therapy needed after the Anterior Approach?

Most patients require a minimal amount of physical therapy after surgery. We offer premier follow-up physical therapy through both the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine and the hospital’s Mapleton Center for Neurologic and Orthopedic Rehabilitation.

To learn more, contact us online or call one of these orthopedic surgeons providing the Anterior Approach:

•   Brian Blackwood, MD with Mapleton Hill Orthopaedics,
     at 303-440-7941
•   Dirk Dolbeare, MD with Boulder Orthopedics,
     at 303-449-2730
•   Michael Repine, MD with Boulder Medical Center, 
     at 303-440-3036
•   Lynn Voss, MD with Boulder Orthopedics, at 303-449-2730

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