Total Hip Arthroplasty: Direct Anterior Approach Versus Posterior Approach in the First Year of Practice

Trevor R. Gulbrandsen, Scott A. Muffly, Alan Shamrock, Olivia O'Reilly, Nicolas A. Bedard, Jesse E. Otero, Timothy S. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: The direct anterior approach (DAA) for total hip arthroplasty (THA) has been popularized as a less invasive technique, however outcomes within the first year of practice after fellowship have not been investigated. The primary aim was to determine differences in complications and outcomes between DAA and posterior approach (PA) in the first year of practice. The secondary aim was to determine if there was a learning curve factor in DAA and PA after fellowship training.

METHODS: THA cases performed by two surgeons during their first year of practice were reviewed. Overall, 181 THAs (91 DAA, 90 PA) in 168 patients, were performed. Intraoperative differences (blood loss, operative time), hospital stay, complications, reoperations, and revisions were compared.

RESULTS: Overall surgical complications were similar between DAA and PA (11% vs. 9%, p=0.64), but complication profiles were different: dislocation (1% vs. 4%, p=0.17), intraoperative femoral fracture (2% vs. 1%, p=0.32), postoperative periprosthetic fractures (2% vs. 3%, p=0.64). neuropraxia (3% vs. 0%, p=0.08). There was no difference in rate of reoperation (1% vs. 3%, p=0.31). There was a difference in rate of revision at final follow-up (0% vs. 6%, p=0.02). DAA consisted of longer operative time (111 vs. 99 minutes; p<0.001), however was only significant in the first 50 cases (p<0.001), while the subsequent cases were similar (p=0.31). There was no difference in the first 50 cases compared to the subsequent cases for either approach regarding blood loss, complications, reoperations, or revisions.

CONCLUSION: DAA and PA for THA performed within the first year of practice exhibit similarly low complication rates, but complication profiles are different. In our series, PA did demonstrate a higher risk of revision at final follow-up. A learning curve is not unique to the DAA. Both DAA and PA THA exhibited a learning curve in the first 50 cases performed at the start of a surgeon's practice. Level of Evidence: III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-136
Number of pages10
JournalThe Iowa orthopaedic journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2022


  • direct anterior approach
  • total hip arthroplasty
  • young orthopedic surgeon
  • Humans
  • Periprosthetic Fractures/etiology
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Hip Prosthesis/adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip/adverse effects
  • Reoperation/methods

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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