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Study: Entry point for hip replacement surgery doesn't affect outcome

Performing total hip replacement surgery from the front, side or back of a patient has no bearing on the procedure's outcome six months later, researchers say.

By Stephen Feller

ORLANDO, Fla., March 3 (UPI) -- Performing total hip replacement surgery from the front, side or back of a patient has no bearing on the procedure's outcome six months later, researchers found in a recent study.

Most such surgeries have traditionally been done from a posterior position, with doctors accessing the hip through the side or buttocks. In recent years, many have opted for anterior approach, entering through the front of the hip for surgery, though researchers say the risks and benefits of each have been debated for some time.

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Researchers in the recent study, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, found there was not greater risk or benefit of either approach, suggesting doctors discuss with patients what may be best for the medical situation at hand.

"Both direct anterior and posterior surgical approaches for THR yield excellent, equivalent results as reported by patients," Dr. Mike Cremins, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher involved with the study, said in a press release. "The surgical approach alone is not the singular variable that yields a difference in six-month postoperative outcome."

For the study, published online by the AAOS ahead of the convention, researchers followed 274 patients for six months who had THR surgery, half performed from a posterior approach and the other half with an anterior approach, between June 2012 and August 2014.

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The researchers reported no difference in outcome based on approach for the procedure, suggesting the option is patient-specific and should be based on relevant individual health risks.

"Patients considering THR should ask their orthopedic surgeon about the surgeon's surgical approach experience and preference," said Dr. John Grady-Benson, an orthopedic surgeon and researcher on the study. "A preoperative shared decision making discussion should always incorporate risks and potential benefits of any surgical approach to THR, as well as help patients understand what they can do before and after surgery to optimize outcomes."

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