St. Croix Orthopaedics offers anterior hip replacement

Drs. Robert Knowlan and Michael Meisterling, general and sports medicine surgeons with St. Croix Orthopaedics, P.A., now offer anterior hip replacement surgery at Stillwater’s Lakeview Hospital and at Woodwinds Health Campus in Woodbury.

Anterior hip replacement is an alternative approach to traditional hip replacement and places the incision at the front of the leg, virtually eliminating the need to cut muscle and helps speed recovery.

"There are very few restrictions for patients who have an anterior approach total hip replacement," Knowlan said. "Patients have a faster recovery because we separate muscles versus cutting and reattaching, as typically done in other approaches. And because we have X-ray capabilities in the operating room, surgeons are able to have more accurate implant placement and can calculate leg length at the time of surgery versus post-operatively."

What is anterior hip replacement?

The hip joint is considered a ball-and-socket joint. The hip socket is called the "acetabulum" and forms a deep cup surrounding the ball of the upper thighbone, called the "femoral head." The ball and socket is surrounded by a soft-tissue enclosure called the "joint capsule." The buttock muscles on the back of the hip and the upper thigh muscles on the front surround the hip.

When the surgeon opens the hip joint capsule on the front edge, the procedure is called an "anterior approach." Opening the joint from the back part of the joint is called a "posterior approach."

While anterior hip replacement has been around since the 1980s, advances in small instruments have made this approach more feasible for surgeons. Knowlan and Meisterling, along with their physician assistants, attended training for this alternative approach.

Is everyone a candidate for anterior hip replacement?

"No, not all patients are candidates for this approach," Knowlan said. "We have to be selective about which patients would qualify for this procedure based on the individual’s amount of body fat."

St. Croix Orthopaedics provides general, specialized, and sports orthopaedic care to patients of all ages and all activity levels.