The Transition to an Anterior-Based Muscle Sparing Approach Improves Early Postoperative Function but is Associated with a Learning Curve

J Vis Exp. 2022 Sep 7;(187). doi: 10.3791/63948.


Surgeons considering transitioning to an anterior-based approach for THA are concerned about the learning curve and the reported marginal clinical benefit. Accordingly, the first cohort of THAs, which were implanted by a single surgeon using the anterior-based muscle-sparing approach (ABMS), was analyzed. The goal of the study was to test 1) whether patient-reported outcomes improved and 2) whether the complication rate decreased with the number of THAs performed. A retrospective cohort study on the first 30 primary THA cases (27 patients) of one surgeon (January 2021-April 2021) using the ABMS approach was conducted. These 30 THAs were compared to 30 primary THA cases (30 patients) done immediately prior to the transition by the same surgeon (September 2020-December 2020) using the posterior approach (PA). The Oxford Hip Score (OHS), Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS Junior), and Forgotten Joint Score (FJS) obtained 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery were compared. In addition, three consecutive groups based on equal numbers of THAs were compared for the incidence of complications and surgery time. At 6 weeks after THA, the OHS was 6 points higher after the ABMS approach (p = 0.0408), and the OHS was comparable at 6 months. The HOOS Junior and FJS were similar at 6 weeks and 6 months after surgery. In the first 10 THAs using the ABMS approach, one patient had a greater trochanter fracture, and one patient had an intraoperative proximal femur fracture. No further immediate interoperative or postoperative complications occurred. Surgery time significantly reduced with the number of THAs performed. Transitioning from the PA to the ABMS approach is associated with a learning curve, which is limited to the first 20 cases. The effect of improved clinical outcomes is apparent within the early postoperative period. After 6 months, THA patients do well regardless of the approach.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip* / adverse effects
  • Hip Joint
  • Humans
  • Learning Curve*
  • Muscles / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome