Femoral revision with the direct anterior approach

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Urban & Vogel

Objective: The advantages of the direct anterior approach (DAA) in primary total hip arthroplasty as a minimally invasive, muscle-sparing, internervous approach are reported by many authors. Therefore, the DAA has become increasingly popular for primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) in recent years, and the number of surgeons using the DAA is steadily increasing. Thus, the question arises whether femoral revisions are possible through the same interval.

Indications: Aseptic, septic femoral implant loosening, malalignment, periprosthetic joint infection or periprosthetic femoral fracture.

Contraindications: A draining sinus from another approach.

Surgical technique: The incision for the primary DAA can be extended distally and proximally. If necessary, two releases can be performed to allow better exposure of the proximal femur. The DAA interval can be extended to the level of the anterior superior iliac spine (ASIS) in order to perform a tensor release. If needed, a release of the external rotators can be performed in addition. If a component cannot be explanted endofemorally, and a Wagner transfemoral osteotomy or an extended trochanteric osteotomy has to be performed, the skin incision needs to be extended distally to maintain access to the femoral diaphysis.

Postoperative management: Depending on the indication for the femoral revision, ranging from partial weight bearing in cases of periprosthetic fractures to full weight bearing in cases of aseptic loosening.

Results: In all, 50 femoral revisions with a mean age of 65.7 years and a mean follow-up of 2.1 years were investigated. The femoral revision was endofemoral in 41 cases, while a transfemoral approach with a lazy‑S extension was performed in 9 patients. The overall complication rate was 12% (6 complications); 3 patients or 6% of the included patients required reoperations. None of the implanted stems showed a varus or valgus position. There were no cases of mechanical loosening, stem fracture or subsidence. Median WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) score before surgery improved significantly from preoperative (52.5) to postoperative (27.2).

Direct anterior approach, Revision total hip arthroplasty, Femoral revision, Approach extensions, Modular stem