5 Benefits of Anterior Hip Replacement

The earliest recorded case of an attempted hip replacement dates back to 1891 when Themistocles Gluck tried using ivory implants to replace the ball portion — or femoral head — of a hip joint. 

We’re happy to report that a lot has changed since those early days of hip replacements. Not only have there been numerous advancements in implantable technologies over the past 130 years, but surgeons have also pioneered innovative approaches in surgical techniques, including the anterior approach.

Dr. Eric E. Johnson has shared his orthopaedic talents all over the world, including Germany and France. By the end of 2019, Dr. Johnson had given more than 230 international presentations and 228 national presentations at annual orthopaedic gatherings. On top of that, he’s also served as the chairman for over 45 national and international orthopaedic fracture courses during his esteemed career. 

At his practice in the Westwood neighborhood of Los Angeles, Dr. Johnson performs anterior hip replacement surgeries as an outpatient procedure, meaning you get to go home the same day. 

Here’s what sets this approach apart from the more common posterior technique.

How hip replacements work

Before getting into the benefits of an anterior approach, it helps to understand the purpose of a total hip replacement.

During this procedure, Dr. Johnson focuses on replacing three primary parts of your hip joint with artificial components. 

Femoral head

As we mentioned above, this is the ball at the top of your thigh bone that fits in the socket in your pelvis. Dr. Johnson replaces this damaged bone with a ceramic or metal ball anchored in place by a metal stem.


The hip socket within your pelvis is known as the acetabulum. Dr. Johnson removes any damage on this structure’s surface before replacing it with the metal plate, which acts as a new synthetic socket joint.


Your cartilage is the cushioning tissue covering the bones in your hip joint, so they can move against each other smoothly. To restore “cartilage” in the area, we insert a spacer made from plastic, ceramic, or metal between the new synthetic ball and socket.

To replace all of these components, surgeons either access your hip joint from the back (posterior) or front (anterior).

The advantages of an anterior hip replacement

The most common approach for hip replacements is the posterior method. This highly effective and versatile technique provides excellent visualization of the hip joint. However, your surgeon also has to cut through soft tissue and muscles to reach your joint. As a result, posterior replacements often require an overnight hospital stay, higher risk of dislocation, and longer recovery times.

That’s why Dr. Johnson performs anterior hip replacements whenever possible. By accessing your joint from the front of your hip, he can avoid cutting through large muscles and tendons, causing far less trauma to the area. This makes your hip replacement procedure far less invasive, and Dr. Johnson can perform it as an outpatient procedure.

Five major benefits of an anterior hip replacement include:

And, since you have less risk of hip dislocation, anterior hip replacements typically come with fewer, if any, restrictions while you heal.

Ready to see if you’re a good candidate for an anterior hip replacement? Contact Eric E. Johnson, MD, to schedule an appointment by calling 424-309-1492 today.

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