Minimally invasive hip replacement is a relatively new surgical technique that has been done by a small number of surgeons within the past few years. A minimally invasive technique is done slightly differently by each of these surgeons. Basically, the techniques uses a smaller in length surgical incision. The well-known hip replacement surgical procedure generally uses an incision that is approximately six to eight inches long. The newer minimally invasive hip replacement surgical procedure uses a shorter, three to five inch surgical incision. Two surgical incisions of 1.5 inches in length have also been used. These surgical incisions are made with the aid of an x-ray machine to find just the right area to make them.
The minimally invasive technique has been shown to result in a decreased loss of blood, decreased pain levels in the postoperative period, a shorter in time hospital stay, and a decreased recovery time for these patients. The positivity of this type of surgery is still undecided and used skeptically. Some surgeons feel that even though the shorter incision would be optimal, the fear is that the hip socket may not be visualized as well resulting in a poorly positioned components. They also worry about complications of this surgical procedure such as nerve injury, dislocation of the hip and/or fractures.
Minimally invasive knee replacement surgery has been around for a little bit longer period of time then the minimally invasive hip replacement, but has more positive research results. Their discoveries in this surgical technique have found that patients do indeed have a shorter recovery time and that the surgeon is successful in the positioning of the knee through the shorter incision line.
In a typical total knee replacement, an incision of approximately seven to eight inches in length is made as opposed to the approximate three to three and a half inches that is made in the minimally invasive knee replacement surgical technique. Little, if any, damage is apparent due to the smaller incision that is made. This surgery has been come to be known as the, “mini knee”. The hospital stay is only a day or two and recovery time is decreased as well as compared to the typical total knee replacement surgical technique. The blood loss is also brought down to a minimal level. With less pain and better mobility during recovery, this procedure is becoming more popular.
Deciding whether or not to have the traditional methods of the surgical procedure for hip or knee replacement is a matter of personal choice between physician and patient. When discussing the pros and cons of the traditional hip or knee replacement approach as opposed to the relatively new minimally invasive hip or knee replacement surgery you and your doctor can come to a conclusion on which route is best for your own personal health circumstances.
Rothman Insitute: Minimally Invasive Surgery
Oregon Health and Science University: Minimally Invasive Knee and Hip Replacement
Main Medical Center: Joint Replacement
Rush University medical Center: Joint Replacement Treatment and Surgery
Hospital for Special Surgery: Minimally Invasive Surgery for Joint Replacement