The Journal of Arthroplasty, Volume 32, Issue 2, 510 - 514

The Direct Anterior Approach for Hip Revision: Accessing the Entire Femoral Diaphysis Without Endangering the Nerve Supply

Nogler, Michael M. et al.


The direct anterior approach (DAA) to the hip has been criticized as an approach that is limited to primary arthroplasty only. Our study objective was to demonstrate, in a cadaveric setting, that an alternate extension of the DAA can be used to reach the femur at the posterior border of the lateral vastus muscle without endangering the nerve supply.


The iliotibial tract is split anteriorly and pulled laterally, thereby opening the interval to the lateral-posterior aspect of the vastus muscle. The muscle fascia is incised at the posterior border to access the femoral diaphysis. The vastus mobilization is started distally and laterally to the greater trochanter, leaving a muscular bridge between the vastus and the medial gluteal muscle intact. If it is necessary to open the femoral cavity for implant retrieval, we perform an anterior wall osteotomy instead of an extended trochanteric osteotomy.


It was possible to split the iliotibial band and pull it laterally, thereby exposing the entire vastus lateralis muscle. The junction of the vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius was not encountered in all cases, nor was the nerve supply with all nerve fibers in that interval.


The alternate technique described here for accessing the femoral diaphysis allows for easy access to the lateral aspect of the vastus lateralis and the femoral diaphysis. Using this technique, it should also be possible to access the femur and perform all necessary reconstructive procedures on it without damaging the surrounding nerve structures.

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