Mini–Incision Total Hip Replacement

Mini–Incision Total Hip Replacement

The "mini–incision" total hip replacement surgery is continuing to evolve, and gain wider acceptance in the orthopaedic community. There are two main methods, which are called "single incision" or "two incision" technique. There is some variability on how numerous authors define "min-incision" surgery. The main thrust of this principle is meant to minimize soft tissue trauma to the hip during surgery by using smaller incisions to protect soft tissue and optimize the speed of recovery.

Traditional hip replacement incision of 8 to 10 inches can in some situations be done with smaller incisions. The "single incision" is 4 to 6 inches in length, depending on body size and weight. The "two incision" technique involves two separate incisions of 2 to 3 inches in length. Protection and delicate treatment of the underlying soft tissues are actually more important then the technical length of the incision. Continued investigation is underway to study these various techniques.

Basic component designs for "minimal incision surgery" are the same, as with traditional hip replacement. Some specifically designed instrumentation can make this procedure possible when using smaller incisions.

General benefits of less invasive hip replacement surgery include:
  • Less pain and improved cosmetic appearance.
  • Less muscle damage.
  • Possibly less blood loss and faster rehabilitation.
  • Possibly a shorter hospital stay.
The long term benefits of less invasive techniques have not yet been documented or verified to be an improvement over traditional hip replacement surgery. The most important issue is the influence on the predictability and reliability of component implantation and the overall long term success.

Your individual physician can discuss this concept with you. He will assess whether you are a candidate for the "mini-incision" approach, and whether this concept would be applicable or beneficial in your specific situation.

-JGM