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J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2012 Jan;94(1):43-50. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.94B1.27001.

A comparison of a less invasive piriformis-sparing approach versus the standard posterior approach to the hip: A randomised controlled trial.

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University of Western Australia, Department of Surgery, Nedlands, Western Australia 6009, Australia.


We undertook a randomised controlled trial to compare the piriformis-sparing approach with the standard posterior approach used for total hip replacement (THR). We recruited 100 patients awaiting THR and randomly allocated them to either the piriformis-sparing approach or the standard posterior approach. Pre- and post-operative care programmes and rehabilitation regimes were identical for both groups. Observers were blinded to the allocation throughout; patients were blinded until the two-week assessment. Follow-up was at six weeks, three months, one year and two years. In all 11 patients died or were lost to follow-up. There was no significant difference between groups for any of the functional outcomes. However, for patients in the piriformis-sparing group there was a trend towards a better six-minute walk test at two weeks and greater patient satisfaction at six weeks. The acetabular components were less anteverted (p = 0.005) and had a lower mean inclination angle (p = 0.02) in the piriformis-sparing group. However, in both groups the mean component positions were within Lewinnek's safe zone. Surgeons perceived the piriformis-sparing approach to be significantly more difficult than the standard approach (p = 0.03), particularly in obese patients. In conclusion, performing THR through a shorter incision involving sparing piriformis is more difficult and only provides short-term benefits compared with the standard posterior approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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