The anterior approach to total hip arthroplasty has the advantages of using intermuscular and internervous planes, but it is technically demanding. We evaluated the learning curve for this approach with regard to operative parameters and immediate outcomes. From November 2005 through May 2007, 73 patients underwent 81 consecutive primary anterior-approach total hip arthroplasties. We grouped the hips into three consecutive groups of 20 and one of 21, and surgical and fluoroscopy times, estimated blood loss, intraoperative and postoperative complications, patient comorbidities, component position, and leg-length discrepancy were compared (statistical significance, p < 0.05). Comparing Groups 1 and 4, there were only two significant differences: operative time, 124 to 98 minutes, respectively, and estimated blood loss, 596 to 347 mL, respectively. Proficiency improved after Group 2 (40 cases) and was more marked after Group 3 (60 cases), with no major complications. Surgeons considering this approach should expect a substantial learning period.
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