What Is The Posterior Approach To Hip Replacement?
The posterior approach to hip replacement surgery is the traditional procedure offered to hip patients. During the more traditional approach, the surgeon makes an incision along the back of the hip to the side of the leg to access the hip joint. The natural lining of the acetabulum and the top of the femur (thigh bone) is removed during surgery. The remaining preparation of the femur and acetabulum involves reshaping to allow solid, accurate alignment of the hip components. The femoral stem is inserted inside the thigh bone, and the acetabular shell is inserted inside the socket of the pelvis.
In total hip replacement surgery, the surgeon replaces the hip joint’s degenerated cartilage and bone with implants.
Patients in need of total hip replacement surgery usually have one or more of the following conditions:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Broken hip
- Injuries that cause the joint to become rough and worn, resulting in pain, swelling and stiffness when the bones rub together
Some patients may be candidates for less invasive types of hip replacement surgeries. Learn more about hip resurfacing and the anterior approach to hip replacement.
The difference between the anterior approach to hip replacement surgery and the more traditional posterior approach is the access to your hip joint.
About Total Hip Replacement Surgery – Posterior Approach
In the posterior approach, an incision is made beside or behind your hip joint. Your surgeon goes through muscle and detaches some of the muscles from the “ball and socket” of the hip joint.
Next, your surgeon smoothes out the hip socket and removes cartilage and any debris such as damage to the bone from osteoarthritis.
A cup-shaped implant is secured into the socket. The ball at the top of the leg bone is trimmed away and a metal stem is placed inside the leg bone and secured there.
A ball (metal or ceramic) is placed at the top of the stem and then a smooth, sturdy plastic, metal or ceramic piece is placed inside the cup-shaped implant. This creates a new hip joint that moves smoothly.
You will be up and walking the day after hip surgery. Recovery varies from patient to patient, but most patients are walking unassisted within 2 to 8 weeks.
You will work with a physical therapist during your hospital stay and learn how to use a walker, cane or crutches after total hip replacement surgery. After you are released from the hospital you will continue with strengthening exercises at home.
After you go home, your doctor may recommend:
- Strength training exercises
- Icing the operative area
Some patients may need to go to a specialized rehab center for more treatment. In all, total rehab after surgery will take several months.
Controlling your weight will help your new hip joint last longer. Learn more about weight management.