The hip is a major joint. During a total hip replacement, which is typically an invasive procedure, the surgeon removes the top of the femur, or thigh bone, and replaces it with an artificial stem and ball, made of ceramic, metal, or plastic – inserted into the hip socket.
During traditional hip replacement surgery, surgeons usually have to make a 12-inch incision at the thigh area, cutting through tendons and muscles in order to reach the hip joint. This will not only cause trauma to the area, but can also cause a large amount of blood to be lost, due to the invasive nature of the surgery. Not only that, during a total hip replacement, the hip is usually dislocated beforehand, which by nature causes damages to tissue in the hip, and the surrounding tissues as well.
Today, advances in medical technology has developed in multiple aspects, including: surgical techniques, patient education, patient pre-op preparation, discharge process, the way anesthesia is administered, etc. These advancements include making joint replacement a minimally-invasive procedure with cutting-edge technology such as da Vinci robotics, which has drastically improved patient health, and have led to less hospital readmissions and shorter stays. This also means that patients experience a faster recovery, and may experience a lower risk of complications.
Just like the traditional hip replacements, minimally invasive hip replacement surgery also involves replacing the damaged hip joint with prosthetic parts. However, with the procedure being minimally invasive, the surgeons use smaller incisions, causing less damage to the surrounding muscle and soft tissue. Much like arthroscopic surgery, the orthopedic surgeon is able to utilize the smallest tools and scopes possible to reduce the damage to surrounding tissue.
Other advantages of minimally invasive hip replacement include:
- A smaller incision or pair of incisions results in a smaller post-surgery scar.
- Less blood loss during surgery.
- Less cutting of muscle and tissue during the procedure, resulting in shorter and easier rehabilitation.
- The procedure may require a hospital stay of only one or two days, and can even be done as an outpatient procedure, allowing the patient to go home to same day.
Despite the many advantages of a minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, not all patients will qualify, depending on the severity of their damaged or diseased joint. Talk to your doctor immediately about your hip pain, in order to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure. Don’t wait, as doing so can cause further complications. Patients who are obese or have existing bone problems such as osteoporosis are not candidates, as excess weight places extreme stress on your joints. The doctor may suggest making healthy lifestyle changes before undergoing the procedure. Despite its name, minimally invasive surgery is still a complex procedure.
To find out if you may be a candidate for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.