Anterior Vs. Lateral Approach for Hip Replacement Surgery

By Ellen Goodlett

Lateral, or posterior, hip replacement surgery is the traditional method of treatment. The anterior approach is a newer, minimally invasive procedure that allows the surgeon to reach your hip joint more directly.

Incision Size

In the traditional lateral approach, the surgeon makes an incision eight to 12 inches long. In the anterior approach, incisions are three to five inches long.


Lateral approach incisions are made along the side or back of your hips, whereas anterior approach incisions are made from the front.

Muscle Disturbance

In the lateral approach, it is necessary to cut through some muscle to reach your hip joint, but in the anterior approach the surgeon can work between the muscle and tissue to avoid disturbance.

Recovery Time

Recovery from anterior hip surgery usually takes two to six weeks, while recovery from lateral hip surgery takes approximately 12 weeks.

Hospital Stay

Lateral hip surgery patients often must remain in the hospital for five to seven days for the procedure, whereas anterior surgery patients may be able to go home after just two to three days.

Hip Movement

After a lateral hip operation, patients need to limit the movement of their hip, which makes sitting and climbing stairs difficult. Following anterior hip surgery, movement is normally unrestricted.

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