There are several ways to do a hip replacement. Although the most common way is the posterior approach – which involves going in through the back of the hip joint and cutting the gluteus maximus muscle – the anterior approach is said to be less invasive. The anterior approach goes through the front of the hip. This is called a muscle-sparing hip approach (minimally invasive) because the surgeon works in between the muscles and does not cut or split the muscles, which results in less pain and quicker recovery.
The most common way to perform the anterior approach total hip replacement is through a vertical incision on the front of the hip. However, a “bikini incision” anterior hip replacement uses an incision in the horizontal direction along your natural skin folds and follows Langer’s lines (sometimes called cleavage lines). By following Langer’s lines, the incision heals better, and the scar is less noticeable. Recent studies have shown the patient to be more satisfied with how their bikini incision healed in comparison to patients with a vertical anterior approach incision (with equivalent results).
While the term “bikini incision” was coined in Europe, I prefer to call it a more cosmetic hip replacement. This approach can be used on both men and women. Most patients are candidates for a bikini incision anterior hip replacement. However, there are some body types and hip deformities that are not well suited for this approach. Ultimately, your surgeon will help determine what your best option is.
If you would like to schedule an in-person or telehealth appointment with Dr. Eric Cohen to discuss anterior hip replacement or the bikini incision approach, please call 401-457-1500 or schedule online.