Total Hip Replacement (Direct Anterior Approach)

This information is useful for adults and older adults
active, older woman smiling, possibly after receiving a total hip replacement

If you need a hip replacement, you may be worried about what lies ahead. That’s natural and understandable—but you will be pleased to learn that, in terms of outcome, a hip replacement is one of the most successful operations you can have. Though they sound dramatic and off-putting, hip replacements can be counted upon to reliably deliver pain relief and restore quality of life.

A type of hip replacement surgery called the direct anterior hip approach can make the early recovery after surgery even better. This is a minimally invasive technique. With anterior hip replacement, the surgeon makes a small incision near the front of the hip to allow for removal of damaged bone and cartilage, and implantation of an artificial hip without damaging surrounding muscle and tendons. Patients leave the hospital sooner than they would with some other approaches.  

Lee Rubin, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and chief of the Yale Medicine Joint Replacement Program, is a leading expert in the direct anterior approach. He is one of the few surgeons in the U.S to have learned the approach directly from Kristaps J. Keggi, MD, a Yale Medicine orthopedic surgeon who was among the first to recognize the benefits of the direct anterior approach. Since Dr. Keggi started performing direct anterior hip surgeries in the 1970s, the technique has sparked the evolution of minimally invasive hip surgery, according to Dr. Rubin. “As a result of this innovation, hip surgery has become a positively transformative experience for my patients,” he says.