Question:What's the advantage of having a mini-operation for a total hip replacement besides a smaller scar?
Improved cosmetic appearance may be the only real advantage so far. According to a study from the Nebraska Joint Replacement Center, there are no other differences. Researchers compared two groups with 42 patients in each group.
All patients had the same operation. Group one had the standard incision (five to 10 inches long). Group two had a mini-incision about two inches long. Both groups had about the same amount of blood loss and time in the operating room. Total hospital stay was the same for both groups.
There were no deaths caused by the operation. One patient in the standard group had a hip dislocation. All other hips (both groups) were in good alignment and without problems.
The authors concluded that cosmetic appeal was the only real benefit of the mini-approach to total hip replacement. Patients who are overweight may not be able to have the less invasive method. Some types of hips require a broader view during the operation. The mini-incision isn't for everyone.John M. Wright, MD, et al. Mini-Incision for Total Hip Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. August 2004. Vol. 19. No. 5. Pp. 538-545.
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