Question:I'm going to ask my surgeon about the new smaller incisions that can be used to do a total hip replacement. But I really don't know enough to know what questions to ask. What should I be thinking about?
Answer:Choosing between the standard length and small incision has become an option for many patients today. Sometimes the surgeon dictates the choice based on his or her training, expertise, and experience.
There are other factors that might make a difference as to which method can be used. For example, obesity may prevent the surgeon from using the short, less invasive incision.
Studies suggest that the smaller incision may be just for cosmetic purposes. Patients are no better and do not have improved function at the end of six weeks regardless of how the incision is made.
It may be important to ask your surgeon if the small incision technique will result in a higher risk of early complications. You'll want to know if there's a chance that the minimally invasive method will affect the long-term results. Anything that might reduce the performance and function of the implant should be avoided.Thomas P. Vail, MD, MBA, and John J. Callaghan, MD. Minimal Incision Total Hip Arthroplasty. In Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. December 2007. Vol. 15. No. 12. Pp. 707-715.
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