Length of Stay, Discharge Disposition, and 90-Day Complications and Revisions Following Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty: A Comparison of the Direct Anterior, Posterolateral, and Direct Superior Approaches

J Arthroplasty. 2020 Jun;35(6):1658-1661. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2020.01.082. Epub 2020 Feb 5.


Background: The direct anterior (DA) approach is becoming increasingly popular for primary total hip arthroplasty (THA). The aim of this study is to evaluate early postoperative complication and revision rates based on surgical approach, comparing DA, posterolateral (PL), and direct superior (DS) approaches.

Methods: After institutional review board approval, a total joint arthroplasty database from a single institution was used to identify all patients who underwent elective primary THA between July 2013 and November 2017 with a DA, PL, or DS hip approach. Patients were followed for complications out to 90 days postsurgery. Patients were divided into groups based on surgical approach and compared on length of stay, discharge disposition, and 90-day complication and revision rates.

Results: There were 5341 THA procedures performed, with 3162 PL, 1846 DA, and 333 DS approaches. Length of stay was shorter for DS (1.7 ± 0.9 days) and DA (1.8 ± 0.9 days) than for PL approaches (2.3 ± 1.4 days, P < .001) The DS approach had the highest rate of home discharges (93.1%), but the highest short-term revision rate (1.5%, P = .011). The DA approach had the lowest intraoperative fracture rate (0.1%, P = .019) but the highest incidence of postoperative fractures (1.3%, P = .021). There were no differences in readmission (P = .056), 90-day events (P = .062), emergency department visits (P = .210), dislocations (P = .090), combined perioperative fractures (P = .289), venous thromboembolic events (P = .059), or acute infection rates (P = .287).

Conclusion: In the era of bundled payments, the DA, PL, and DS approaches can all be effectively used.

Level of evidence: Level III; retrospective comparative study.

Keywords: direct anterior; direct superior; perioperative complications; posterolateral; total hip arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Patient Discharge
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies