Is the Anterior Approach Safe? Early Complication Rate Associated With 5090 Consecutive Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty Procedures Performed Using the Anterior Approach

J Arthroplasty. 2016 Oct;31(10):2291-4. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2015.07.008. Epub 2015 Jul 11.


Background: Few publications have raised concern with the safety of the anterior approach (AA) to total hip arthroplasty (THA). The purpose of this study is to report the early complications with AA THA in a combined, multicenter patient population from three different institutions.

Methods: The study cohort consisted of 5090 consecutive primary procedures in 4473 patients who had undergone THA utilizing the anterior approach between August 2006 and July 2013. Surgeries were performed by five surgeons at three sites that maintain prospective databases. Preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative data were recorded on all patients. Demographic data including age, gender, and BMI were queried, as well as all intraoperative and postoperative complications in the first 90 days.

Results: The 5090 patients had a mean body mass index of 27.5, and mean age of 63.6 years. The overall 90-day complication rate was 1.9%. There were 41 intraoperative femur fractures including 29 calcar fractures, 9 greater trochanter fractures and 3 femoral shaft fractures. There were 7 postoperative femur fractures including 3 greater trochanter fractures, 2 calcar fractures, and 2 femur fractures. Other complications included 15 superficial infections, 5 deep infections, 12 dislocations, 8 hematomas, 3 cases of cellulitis, 2 sciatic nerve palsies, 1 peroneal nerve palsy, and intrapelvic bleed. The nonsurgical complication rate was 1.4%. Deep vein thrombosis occurred in 0.3% of cases.

Conclusion: This large multicenter study of consecutive AA THAs demonstrates an acceptable risk profile within the first 90 days after surgery.

Keywords: anterior approach hip arthroplasty; complications; direct anterior hip; early outcomes; total hip arthroplasty.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / methods*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures / epidemiology*
  • Femoral Fractures / etiology
  • Femur / surgery
  • Hip Joint / surgery
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peroneal Neuropathies
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sciatic Neuropathy
  • Young Adult