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Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

Even though a hip replacement, or arthroplasty, is now a common orthopedic procedure, it can still seem like an ordeal to some patients. That’s because the traditional approach to hip replacement is a complex procedure involving a 10- to 12-inch long incision as a means of replacing the hip joint with an implant or “prosthesis.”

But the good news is that there is a minimally invasive alternative to the traditional approach that only involves one or two shorter incisions, which results in less pain and a speedier recovery.

Here’s how the two approaches differ.

Traditional Hip Replacement

During traditional hip replacement, the orthopedic surgeon makes the longer incision on the side of the hip. Muscles are split and detached from the hip to allow the surgical team to have a full view and to dislocate the hip. Next, the damaged femoral head is replaced with a metal stem that is placed into the hollow center of the femur bone, and a metal or ceramic ball that is fitted on the upper part of the stem. Using a screw or cement, a metal socket is secured to replace the damaged cartilage surface of the acetabulum (socket). And finally, a plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer is inserted between the ball and socket to produce a smooth, gliding surface.

Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

The minimally invasive hip replacement surgery is similar, but it involves less slicing of the tissue that is adjacent to the hip. The same artificial implants are applied, but the procedure requires surgical instruments that are specially designed to prime the socket and femur, as well as properly position the replacement prosthesis. Also, it can be performed with either one or two small incisions, which allows for less tissue intrusion.

Depending on the patient’s size and the amount of difficulty involved, a single incision measuring just 3 to 6 inches can be made, usually on the outside of the hip. Although muscles and tendons are still split and detached, it is performed to a lesser extent than with the traditional approach. The muscles and tendons can be repaired once the implants are installed, encouraging healing and helping to prevent dislocation of the hip.

If the minimally invasive surgical procedure requires two incisions, one measuring 2 to 3 inches long is done over the groin to allow for placement of the socket. The other incision, measuring just 1 to 2 inches long, is done over the buttock to enable placement of the femoral stem. With a two-incision procedure, the surgeon often uses X-rays for guidance, and the operation itself may take longer than traditional surgery.

As with any type of hip replacement surgery – traditional or minimally invasive – the patient may need to remain in the hospital for up to four days. This is followed by a period of physical rehabilitation to ensure a successful recovery, and restoration of strength and range of motion.

Are You a Candidate for Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement?

Before you undergo minimally invasive hip replacement, your doctor will perform a comprehensive evaluation, considering several factors before recommending the procedure. The best candidates for this approach tend to be younger, thinner, overall healthier, and more motivated to commit to the rehabilitation process than those who undergo traditional surgery.

Those for whom minimally invasive techniques are less suitable include patients who are overweight or very muscular, have significant deformity of the hip joint, have undergone other hip surgeries, or have health problems that may slow down wound healing – as these bring a higher risk for complications from the surgery.

Expert Hip Treatment in Colorado Springs

At Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence, our orthopedic and sports medicine experts offer nonsurgical hip treatment. When surgery is warranted, our orthopedic surgeons utilize the least invasive techniques available, including minimally invasive hip replacement and direct anterior hip replacement.

For outstanding orthopedic treatment of your hip joint conditions, request an appointment online or call our Colorado Springs office at (719) 623-1050.

Minimally Invasive Joint Replacement Surgeries

More than one million Americans – the majority of whom are 50 or older – choose to undergo joint replacement (or arthroplasty) each year. Arthroplasty restores the integrity of your joints and improves function using an artificial joint, or prosthesis.

However, if the prospect of enduring traditional surgery to replace a hip or knee fills you with dread, you’ll be relieved to know there is an excellent alternative: minimally invasive joint replacement.

Although traditional surgery is still a popular option among many patients, minimally invasive techniques are rapidly becoming the norm for those looking for a faster and less painful recovery.

What Makes Surgery Minimally Invasive?

With traditional (fully invasive) joint replacement surgery, orthopedic surgeons make large incisions that cut through muscles, tendons, and ligaments as a means of reaching and replacing the affected joints. That results in more bleeding, more post-operative pain that needs to be managed, more vulnerability to infection, a longer scar, and a longer recovery period before the patient regains a full range of motion.

In fact, most of the pain and dysfunction after traditional joint replacement surgery is due to these large incisions, not due to the manipulation and replacement of the bones themselves. As a result, patients need to stay in the hospital for several days and then take several weeks off from work to recuperate.

With minimally invasive joint replacement surgery, orthopedic surgeons make smaller incisions, minimize muscular detachment, and cut through less tissue during the procedure. As a result, there is much less overall trauma to the body, and the recovery period is significantly shorter.

Also, physical therapy is easier after minimally invasive surgery, because it usually doesn’t involve rehabilitating organs that have been severed.

Does Minimally Invasive Surgery Work as Well as Regular Surgery?

A major advantage of minimally invasive joint replacement is that it can be performed on an outpatient basis. Your surgery can be performed early in the morning, and you can conceivably be back home that very afternoon.

Plus, in the case of knee and hip replacement surgery, you could be walking with a cane immediately following the surgery. This means you can recover more quickly than with traditional invasive surgery.

Minimally invasive joint replacement surgery represents a dramatic improvement in surgical techniques. Higher-quality materials from which implants are made have led to a growing number of patients achieving optimum outcomes after hip and knee replacements – and with a reduced rate of post-surgical infection or other complications.

Combined with physical therapy, minimally invasive joint replacement surgery alleviates the stiffness and pain associated with severe arthritis, and it allows for more complete range of motion – thereby enabling your body to operate naturally again.

Types of Successful Surgical Procedures

At the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs, we utilize the most advanced surgical methods available today – including minimally invasive procedures whenever possible. Some of the joint replacement surgeries and procedures we perform at our medical clinic include:

Who Can Help with My Joint Pain?

If you’ve sustained an injury or have a degenerative condition that requires joint replacement, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons will diagnose the condition, explain your treatment options, and implement the procedure you and your surgeon decide upon.

Call us at (719) 623-1050 today for an appointment, or fill out our online consultation request form now. We look forward to helping you get back to the active lifestyle you’ve always enjoyed.

Orthopedic Tests for Hip and Pelvic Problems

Pain of the hip and pelvic area is one of the most frequent types of joint pain seen by orthopedic doctors. Pain in this area can have many causes, and it can be disabling for athletes as well as less active people.

A survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that about 7 percent of Americans experience some degree of hip pain or stiffness.

How Is My Hip Pain Diagnosed?

Following are some of the tests that are regularly used by orthopedists to determine the specific condition causing pain in the hip and pelvic area:

Initial Exam and Tests 

Your doctor will begin by asking about your symptoms, the time they started, and any possible accidents or diseases you might have experienced. Next, your doctor will test your posture and gait, with you in both standing and seated positions. Measurements of your leg bones may also be taken by the doctor. 

Imaging Tests 

Imaging tests, such as X-rays and MRI, may be the next step your doctor might suggest to determine the cause of your pain. A more specific test called an MRA (magnetic resonance angiogram) uses a contrast dye to look at your hip joints in high detail.

Lab Tests

Orthopedists also use laboratory tests to help determine issues that cause pain and stiffness. A blood test can show, for example, the presence of an antibody that may cause a type of arthritis.

Blood tests can also help find Lyme disease and lupus, both of which may affect your hips. In addition, your doctor may draw a small amount of fluid from your hip joints to confirm a diagnosis of gout or a bacterial infection.

Manual Tests 

Special manual tests or maneuvers are also part of the process to determine the cause of your hip or pelvic pain. Over the past several decades, orthopedists have developed more than a dozen of these hands-on tests.

During these mechanical tests, your doctor will ask you to sit, stand, or lie down with your body in different positions, and to make a series of movements. Your doctor will observe your performance during these tests to help in the diagnosis. 

These hands-on procedures include the following: 

·      Pelvic Rocking Test – This is used to check joint stability in the hip. A limited range of motion or pain during this test may suggest an injury or a possible infection.

·      Trendelenburg Sign – This test looks for weakness in the abductor muscles of the hips, such as the gluteus. The abductor muscles help draw your legs away from your body in activities such as walking or running.

·      Telescoping Test – This test looks for possible hip dislocation, where the head of your upper leg bone (femur) moves out of the socket where it normally sits.

Hip Surgeons in Colorado Springs

If you are experiencing hip and pelvic pain or stiffness, or other issues with your joints or muscles, we are here to help. Our team of physicians at the Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence are experts in sports medicine and joint injuries, and we can evaluate, implement, and monitor the most effective treatments.

For outstanding orthopedic treatment, schedule a consultation by calling our Colorado Springs office today at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment here. We look forward to helping you live a more pain-free lifestyle so you can get back in the game.

Recovering from My Broken Hip

Getting a broken hip is like slamming the brake pedal on your life. The recovery process may take months and will likely require making accommodations in your plans. While recovering from a broken hip can take a while, there are many things you can do to make the recovery period go well. 

Whether it’s due to an accident, sports injury, or another reason, a surgery will most likely be necessary to fix a broken hip. There are a few types of hip surgeries that are performed to fix hip fractures. Whether it’s an internal repair, partial hip replacement, or a total hip replacement, your surgeon will be the best person to determine which type of surgery is best for your situation.

How to Make the Recovery Period After Hip Surgery Go Well

Preparing Your Home – After your hip surgery, your ability to physically move as you used to will be limited. During the recovery period, you will need to make accommodations in your home so that you can limit the number of obstacles that may get in the way of your daily activities. For example, make sure to have the right tools available to you for getting around the house. Ask your surgeon if you need a walking cane, crutches, or a walker to reduce pressure on the hip. In addition, you may have to make sure you don’t climb stairs during your recovery while your body heals. If you live in a multistory home, you may have to make temporary adjustments to your home while you recover, such as setting up sleeping arrangements on the first floor if you typically sleep on the second floor. Another example is making sure you have a bathing chair set up in your tub for showering. Your surgeon will be able to tell you exactly what accommodations you need to make and what supplies you will need to make sure your recovery period goes well.

Physical Therapy – Once your broken hip begins to heal, your surgeon will likely recommend physical therapy. Your body will need to get used to functioning the way it’s supposed to. Physical therapy allows you to get your hip to practice natural movements so the joint motions and strength can be revived. Make sure to follow your physical therapy instructions exactly as your surgeon and physical therapist suggest so that your broken hip recovery goes well.   

Healthy Diet and Lifestyle – Finally, make sure you maintain a healthy diet during your recovery from hip surgery. Although a healthy diet is important regardless, during recovery your body needs the right nutrients to adequately recover. Make sure to stay away from foods high in sugars, trans fats, and salts. Eat healthy fruits and vegetables that provide the right type of fuel to your body while it heals. Also, make sure to stay away from alcohol as it interferes with a lot of medications. Smoking slows down the healing process and can make your hip recovery period last longer than it should. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle are really important to your hip recovery. Make sure to talk to your surgeon about what you can do to improve your lifestyle while you are healing from your broken hip.

The Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence would love to help you recover from the musculoskeletal issue you are experiencing. Call (719) 623-1050 today to make an appointment with one of our highly trained doctors.

Hip Replacement vs Hip Resurfacing

We don’t think about how much wear and tear our musculoskeletal system takes on a daily basis, especially our hips. As we age, everyday use wears down the bones and cartilage inside the hip joint. This natural degeneration of the bones and cartilage inside the hip is the cause of one of the most common condition affecting the hip, called osteoarthritis. This is a painful condition that causes severe chronic pain, stiffness in the joint, and limited mobility, which inhibits people from going about their daily tasks and activities. The good news, is that surgical procedures such as hip replacement or resurfacing help man people restore function and mobility, reducing the pain caused by bone on bone friction in the hip.

The hip joint is where the ball of the thigh bone (femur) joins the pelvis at a socket called the acetabulum. There is cartilage covering both the bone of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis in the hip joint. This helps to prevent bone on bone friction, keeping the bones from wearing down. Damage to any of the hip joint components will cause significant chronic pain, discomfort, and dysfunction (limited mobility).

There is a tissue lining surrounding the hip joint, called synovium, which produces fluid, and is responsible for lubricating the joint and providing nutrients to the cartilage of the joint. The hip joint is one the large joints of the body which most importantly enables us to have a wide range of mobility, helping the thigh move forwards and backwards. Without hip cartilage, the bones connecting the joints will rub up against each other, causing painful friction, inflammation, and in some cases, bone deformity.

If you have been suffering with hip pain and reduced function, it’s important to consult with an orthopedic specialist to diagnose the problem. If tests show that surgical intervention is required to treat your case of hip osteoarthritis, there are two solutions: hip resurfacing or hip replacement. Both hip resurfacing and hip replacement procedures involve removing the damaged hip joint and replacing it with a prosthetic joint. Hip pain is a hard condition to live with, and if you are an active person especially, not being able to do what you love is a major problem. That’s why Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence stays up to date on the best, most advance surgical options for repairing and replacing degenerative hips. So, what are the differences between hip replacement and hip resurfacing? 

Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, is a technique which has become widespread in recent years in response to the need for repairing hip joints that have been damaged by injury or arthritis. According to research, last year, approximately 300,000 Americans underwent a total hip replacement to relieve the pain of an arthritic or broken hip joint.

A hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint is surgically replaced with a prosthetic joint. As mentioned before, the normal hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The socket is a “cup-shaped” component of the pelvis called the acetabulum. The ball is the head of the thighbone (femur). Hip replacement involves the surgical removal of the diseased and degenerated ball and socket joint, replacing them with an artificial hip implant, where a metal, ceramic, or plastic ball and cup socket is inserted into the femur bone. An additional rod is also used to fuse the joint together. The goal of hip resurfacing is to remove problematic areas and replace them with an artificial joint that will help the hip to work more efficiently than the damaged original.

Typical candidates for hip replacement surgery are patients experiencing hip pain who have not responded well to traditional treatment methods, such as physical therapy or pain medications. As with resurfacing, recovery from this procedure is a bit of a process, depending on the severity of the case, and the person. In most cases, patients remain hospitalized for 4 to 6 days, but usually with the aid of physical therapy, crutches or a walker, patients recovering can start walking again within a few days of the surgery. For patients who are recipients of hip replacements, their artificial hip should last up to 15 years or more, and will most importantly, improve their quality of life by allowing them to go about their lives with minimal pain.

Hip Resurfacing

Anatomically thinking, the end of the leg bone (femur) is a round ball, which fits into a space within the hip bone (socket). During hip resurfacing surgery, the ball joint is covered with a metal prosthesis while preserving the bone. 

In other words, hip resurfacing, unlike hip replacement surgery, is a procedure that only deals with the ball of the hip. During this procedure, the surgeon reshapes the damaged hip ball, which then is capped with a metal prosthesis. The damaged hip socket is also fitted with a metal prosthesis as well.

Hip resurfacing has become popular, and has attracted younger patients, because it has been said that this procedure preserves more bone, and is often considered to be a better solution than a total hip replacement. However, depending on the damage and condition of the joint, hip resurfacing may not be enough needed for repair.

Today, the sockets used during hip replacement surgery, are composed of two main components: a metal socket into which bone grows, and a plastic liner. This is an important distinction because if for some reason the hip fails and more surgery is necessary, the entire socket in a resurfaced hip most likely will need to be removed and replaced with a new one. If hip replacement surgery fails, and more surgery is needed to revise the socket, the hip resurfacing procedure is designed, so that only the plastic liner has to be revised, not the metal shell.

In other words, the fact that hip resurfacing preserves more bone is important, because having more femoral bone available will make the femoral revision easier. Physicians often say to their patients, that it is easier to deal with bone loss on the femoral side than on the socket side.

Recovery after the hip resurfacing procedure takes a bit longer than other minimally invasive surgeries, due to the procedures complex nature. Most patients are able to walk unassisted after two to three weeks. A resurfaced hip joint can last up to 20 years without complications.

To learn more about hip replacement and hip resurfacing, and if you may be a candidate, call Colorado Center of Orthopaedic Excellence in Colorado Springs at (719) 623-1050 or request an appointment online.