By the way, doctor: Is anterior hip replacement better?

Q. I have a severely arthritic hip. It's pretty clear that I'm a candidate for hip replacement. When I looked on the Internet, there were a lot of Web sites promoting "anterior hip replacement." What is it, and is it any better than the traditional approach?

A. Traditionally, orthopedic surgeons have approached the hip joint from the side and back when doing total replacement surgery. The incision used in this posterolateral approach, as it is called, is about six to nine inches long and is made along the side of the hip and the upper thigh. Anterior means front, and the incision for the anterior approach is made in the upper part of the front of the thigh.

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