An extended posterior approach to the hip and pelvis for complex acetabular reconstruction that preserves the gluteal muscles and their neurovascular supply

L. B. Solomon, J. G. Hofstaetter, M. J. Bolt, D. W. Howie


We investigated the detailed anatomy of the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus and their neurovascular supply in 22 hips in 11 embalmed adult Caucasian human cadavers. This led to the development of a surgical technique for an extended posterior approach to the hip and pelvis that exposes the supra-acetabular ilium and preserves the glutei during revision hip surgery. Proximal to distal mobilisation of the gluteus medius from the posterior gluteal line permits exposure and mobilisation of the superior gluteal neurovascular bundle between the sciatic notch and the entrance to the gluteus medius, enabling a wider exposure of the supra-acetabular ilium. This technique was subsequently used in nine patients undergoing revision total hip replacement involving the reconstruction of nine Paprosky 3B acetabular defects, five of which had pelvic discontinuity. Intra-operative electromyography showed that the innervation of the gluteal muscles was not affected by surgery. Clinical follow-up demonstrated good hip abduction function in all patients. These results were compared with those of a matched cohort treated through a Kocher–Langenbeck approach. Our modified approach maximises the exposure of the ilium above the sciatic notch while protecting the gluteal muscles and their neurovascular bundle.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2014;96-B:48–53.


  • No benefits in any form have been received or will be received from a commercial party related directly or indirectly to the subject of this article.

    This article was primary edited by D. Rowley and first proof edited by G. Scott.

  • Received April 17, 2013.
  • Accepted October 16, 2013.
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