Greater trochanteric pain after primary total hip replacement, comparing the anterior and posterior approach: A secondary analysis of a randomized trial

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2021 Dec;107(8):102709. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2020.08.011. Epub 2020 Oct 31.


Background: Greater trochanteric pain (GTP) after total hip replacement is a common cause of residual lateral hip pain, regardless of the approach used. The goal of our study was to evaluate GTP after a direct anterior approach (DAA) compared to a posterior approach (PA) as well as the clinical outcomes of both approaches and answer the following: 1) What is the incidence of trochanteric pain after primary THA with two different surgical approaches? 2) What is the functional outcome of patients with GTP? 3) What proportion of patients with GTP resort to peritrochanteric injections?

Hypothesis: Our hypothesis is that GTP is present with both approaches but satisfaction is lower with the PA.

Patients and methods: A secondary analysis of a previously published clinical trial with 55 total hip arthroplasty patients randomized in one of two surgical approaches: 27 patients underwent the anterior modified Hueter approach, while the other group of 28 patients were operated using the posterior approach. Study outcomes were Modified Harris Hip Score (MHHS), satisfaction score, pain when lying on the affected side, and requiring an injection. Hip offset, femur lateralization and leg lengthening were measured before and after surgery.

Results: Forty-five patients were available for complete follow-up at a mean of 62 months (range: 48-74). The incidence of GTP was higher in the posterior approach [PA: 6/21 (29%) vs DAA 4/24 (17%)) (p=0.3). Patients operated through a PA experienced more pain [5/21 (24%) of patients; VAS=mean 5.3] when lying on their operated side, compared to DAA patients [2/24 (8%) of patients; VAS=mean 2) (p=0.2)]. However, MHHS, patient satisfaction with surgery, radiological assessment for hip offset, femur lateralization or leg lengthening, and injections required were similar for both approaches. Overall, satisfaction and functional outcome with surgery was significantly lower in GTP patients, regardless of the approach.

Conclusions: GTP impacts patient satisfaction and functional outcome in total hip arthroplasty patients. PA patients reported more trochanteric pain than DAA patients, which affected their clinical outcome.

Level of evidence: III.

Keywords: Anterior approach; Greater trochanteric hip pain; Posterior approach; Total hip arthroplasty; Trochanteric bursitis.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Femur / surgery
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Pain / etiology
  • Treatment Outcome