A joint is a point where multiple bones meet and work together so that you can perform daily tasks like sit, climb stairs, walk comfortably, etc. The hip joint is described as being a “ball and socket” joint due to the joint’s appearance of a ball (femoral head) fitting snugly in a cup-like socket (acetabulum). The ball (femoral head) is located at the top of the thigh bone (femur) and the socket (acetabulum) is part of the pelvis. The area where the bones meet is covered by a slick but firm tissue called cartilage, allowing the joint to move smoothly.
All total hip replacements have the same goal: remove the portions of damaged hip joint and replace them with an implant. The implant used is made up of several different components. The individual components are available in many different sizes and materials so that your surgeon can decide which options will be the best fit for your individual needs.
The surgical approach (sometimes called the surgical technique) is the way the surgeon makes their incision so that they can operate on the bones that make up the joint. Most surgeons use what is called a traditional approach, but more are starting to use the Anterior Approach. The main difference is that unlike a traditional approach where the muscles are cut, the Anterior Approach allows the surgeon to work around the muscles keeping them intact. By keeping the muscles intact, the Anterior Approach may allow for less pain, faster recovery, quicker stability and fewer post operative restrictions.
The Anterior Approach allows access to the diseased portions of your hip in a truly minimally-invasive manner. As you can see in the diagram, muscles are moved (not cut) and only the diseased areas are replaced.