The Bone & Joint JournalVol. 102-B, No. 7_Supple_B

A survey of Hip Society surgeons concerning the direct anterior approach total hip arthroplasty

Steven T. Woolson


To establish whether there was a consensus among the members of the Hip Society (HS) on the role of direct anterior approach (DAA) contemporary primary total hip arthroplasty (THA).


An online survey was sent to all 112 active and senior members of the HS, to which 71 members responded. The survey was constructed to determine whether they believed that evidence-based medicine proves, in modern clinical practice, that the DAA has significant benefits compared to risks when contrasted with other approaches. In addition, they were asked if they currently used the DAA.


While only 16.9% (12/71) of respondents had been trained in a generic anterior approach during residency, 49.3% (35/71) had used the DAA in their clinical practice in the past or were using it at the present time. Unexpectedly, 42.9% (15/35) of respondents who had used the DAA in the past had abandoned it by the time of this survey. Only 22.5% (16/71) of all respondents believed that evidence-based medicine proves that the DAA has significant benefits compared to risks in contrast to other approaches.


A comprehensive literature review found only three prospective randomized clinical trials (RCT) comparing the DAA with another approach with greater than one-year follow-up. Two showed minor benefits within the early postoperative period only, and one of those showed poorer mid-term results. Most of the published comparison studies with short follow-up show longer surgical times and greater blood loss for the DAA, and many three-month comparison studies show higher complication rates for the DAA using a proprietary traction table. The complications included problems with wound healing, lateral femoral cutaneous nerve injury, femoral component loosening, and femoral fractures. Because of the lack of evidence from RCTs showing superiority of the DAA over other approaches and reports of higher complications, the opinion of a large majority (77.5%; 55/71) of HS surgeons was that the DAA lacks sufficient evidence to warrant its use.


Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(7 Supple B):57–61.

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