In March, Dr. Michael Bollinger was featured in a Washington Post article* discussing the benefits of the anterior approach method used for replacing hips.  The article mentioned that the number of Americans having total hip replacements over the past two decades has risen to more than 300,000 per year (more than doubling the figures from 20 years ago), and that patients are eventually able to walk again without pain or the aid of a cane, but only after a lengthy, rigorous and sometimes painful recovery and rehabilitation period.

From the article:

The surgery is extensive: As its name suggests, it involves removing the joint — the damaged bone and cartilage — and replacing it with prosthetic parts made of metal, plastic or ceramics. Typically, surgeons enter the joint from the rear, which requires cutting through muscle and cartilage. But with a relatively new procedure, surgeons enter from the front and only stretch the muscles aside, avoiding the cutting and minimizing pain and recovery time. According to those who use this anterior technique, the benefits are substantial.

The article goes on to say:
Anthony Unger, medical director at the Institute of Bone and Joint Health at Sibley Memorial Hospital and a clinical professor of orthopedic surgery at George Washington University Hospital, says the anterior approach is “truly minimally invasive.” Unger, who has done about 4,000 hip replacements over 26 years and has used the anterior technique for the past eight years, says “patients have better overall functionality, can sleep on their sides and be confident the new hip won’t dislocate.”

But, as with many transitions in medical techniques, some surgeons have been reluctant to change. Although agencies and hospitals don’t track hip replacements by the type of procedure used, Unger says […]