In recent years many patients have been treated with minimally invasive total hip replacements. The primary difference between minimally invasive and conventional approaches is how the surgeon exposes and gains access to the hip joint. With the traditional approach, the incision is 10-16 inches long, whereas minimally invasive incisions are one incision about 6 inches long or two small incisions about 3-4 inches long; one incision is over the groin for placement of the acetabular component (socket) and one is over the buttock for placement of the femoral component (ball). To make the two incisions your surgeon made need the help of an xray. Also, the minimally invasive approach involves splitting and dividing muscles instead of cutting them. Minimally invasive joint replacement is therefore less traumatic, promotes better healing and the joint regains stability more quickly. There is less blood loss and the patient can sometimes go home the same day. Minimally invasive surgery can take longer than traditional hip replacement surgery but the hospital stays can be as short as a day or two.
Are You a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement?
To be a candidate for total hip replacement:
• your hip pain should be bad enough to interrupt your sleep
• medicines no longer relieve the pain
• the pain limits your ability to do activities of daily living and social or workplace activities
• the function of your hip is impaired by your condition (arthritis, etc.)
In addition to the above, you must also have healthy bone and be willing to take part in physical therapy. Minimally invasive surgery cannot be used for revisions or fractures involving a previous hip implant.
Traditional surgery is indicated if you are morbidly obese or have severe deformities of the femur. You are morbidly obese if you have:
• a body mass index above 40 or more than 100 pounds overweight
• a body mass index above 35 and have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, some cancers, osteoarthritis or other unhealthy conditions
The artificial implants used for minimally invasive surgery are the same as those for the traditional surgery.