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Hip pain getting in the way of living life? Anterior hip replacement surgery might be the solution.

Hip pain getting in the way of living life? Anterior hip replacement surgery might be the solution.

Dr. Alexander Sah presents in-person and online event Jan. 25

Not all hip aches and pains mean you need surgery. But for some people, hip replacement surgery offers fast and safe relief, and the opportunity to return to many activities that pain has limited. At Washington Hospital’s Institute for Joint Restoration and Research, Co-Medical Director, Alexander Sah, MD, is a leading expert on the anterior hip replacement technique. This minimally invasive approach is muscle-sparing and can therefore reduce the risk of hip instability/dislocation and shorten the time a patient must spend in the hospital following surgery.

On Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 4:30 p.m., Dr. Sah will lead the Health & Wellness seminar “Hip Replacements —The Anterior Approach,” hosted by Washington Hospital Healthcare System. This seminar will be available for viewing online and, for the first time in two years, in-person attendance will be allowed. Interested community members should visit to register for the presentation and decide which viewing format is preferred.

At the presentation, Dr. Sah will describe the surgical method and present the latest data on its results. The public may attend the event in person or online, and there will be opportunities for audience members to ask questions. “Hip replacement surgery is one of the most successful procedures in modern medicine,” says Dr. Sah, who over the past year has performed over 1,100 joint replacement surgeries. In the January 25 seminar, he will provide an overview of hip arthritis and other conditions that can cause hip pain. Dr. Sah will review nonsurgical remedies as well as the most common surgical treatments.

In his own hip replacement practice, Dr. Sah almost exclusively uses the anterior approach, which has been steadily growing in preference among orthopedic surgeons. “For the past two years, the American Association of Hip Surgeons has reported that over 50 percent of hip replacement specialists in the United States now use the anterior approach,” says Dr. Sah.

In the seminar, Dr. Sah will explain why he favors the anterior hip replacement approach. He will show how the approach allows surgeons to avoid cutting through muscle, which can disturb the stability of the hip. “When the hip gets destabilized, a patient has a higher risk for dislocating it. The muscle-sparing benefit of the anterior approach means that the hip is inherently more stable after surgery,” he explains.

For hip surgeries that use the posterior approach, patients are positioned on their side, which can make some aspects of their surgery more difficult, such as measuring the patient’s leg length. “A major benefit to the anterior approach,” says Dr. Sah, “is that patients are positioned on their back. This makes accurate leg measurements easy, as well as allowing the surgeon to use a mobile X-ray machine for real-time implant sizing and positioning during the surgery.”

“Using X-ray, I can be extremely accurate in reconstructing the new hip. I can even overlay an X-ray of the healthy hip and use it to guide my reconstruction of the new hip. I do not have to wait until the patient is in recovery to review an X-ray of the final positioning. I am able to assess the procedure in its totality before the patient leaves the operating room.”

The outcomes from this level of surgical precision are impressive. The surgery is quick; for most it takes under an hour. Dr. Sah says, “We don’t use general anesthesia, which can have longer-lasting side effects, but instead use a spinal anesthesia which is regional and allows the patient to recover more quickly. With the minimally invasive anterior approach, patients can walk on their hip within a few hours. Half of our patients are able to go home the same day. The recovery is so quick that most find that they can drive again within a couple of weeks, and return to their favorite recreational sports after just six weeks.”

Deciding to get a hip replacement can be a scary decision for many people. However, Dr. Sah urges, “You should consider doing it when you are healthier, before your hip has become so painful that it is affecting your back, your gait, and your overall physical health. If you are healthier to begin with, your recovery will be faster and more complete.”

President of the Anterior Hip Foundation for 2023, Dr. Sah has co-edited with his mentor Joel Matta, MD, Anterior Hip Replacement, an anthology of medical information about the surgical approach (published by Springer, 2022). His Health & Wellness seminar is an opportunity for anyone interested in hip replacement surgery to learn about the latest techniques and get their questions answered by an experienced practitioner.

To learn more, join Dr. Sah for “Hip Replacements—The Anterior Approach,” on Wednesday, Jan. 25, at 4:30 p.m. To find out where to attend the event in person or how to view it online, visit or call 800.963.7070.