Direct Anterior Approach for Total Hip Arthroplasty: Indications, Technique, and Results

Zachary D. Post

The direct anterior approach (DAA) to the hip was initially described in the 19th century and has been used sporadically for total hip arthroplasty (THA). In the past decade, enthusiasm for the approach has been renewed because of increased demand for minimally invasive techniques. New surgical instruments and tables designed specifically for use with the DAA for THA have made the approach more accessible to surgeons. Some authors claim that this approach results in less muscle damage and pain as well as rapid recovery, although limited data exist to support these claims. The DAA may be comparable to other THA approaches, but there is no evidence to date that shows improved long-term outcomes for patients. The steep learning curve and complications unique to this approach (fractures and nerve damage) have been well described. However, the incidence of these complications decreases with greater surgeon experience. A question of keen interest to hip surgeons and patients is whether the DAA results in improved early outcomes and long-term results comparable to those of other approaches for THA.

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