Question:I'm going to have one of those new fangled mini-hip replacements. I'm supposed to be in and out on the same day. What should I figure on for recovery time with rehab and all?
Answer:An interesting discovery has been made about the post-operative results of the mini-incision technique for hip replacement. At first, surgeons thought the smaller incision was the reason patients had a faster recovery.
But more and more studies have been done now comparing the various types of incisions (large and small). It looks like early weight-bearing and quick recovery are possible with all types of incisions. This is true for the anterior, posterior, single, and double incision of all sizes.
A second look at this result points to the importance of the rehab program. It looks like a more comprehensive rehab program may be what's making a difference.
For one thing, patients are given more education before the operation. They are told what to expect and shown how to do the exercises and walking regimen before even having the surgery. This helps speed up recovery because the information isn't new to them.
Better intra-operative technique has also proven beneficial. Pain medication is started while in the operating room, rather than after the patient wakes up.
New drugs have been developed to reduce side effects such as nausea from the anesthesia. And regional anesthesia makes it possible to numb the area without exposing patients to systemic effects of anesthesia.
Patients who get good education and follow-up care before and after surgery go home sooner, recover faster, and use less pain medication. Every surgeon or surgical center has their own way of coaching patients through the experience.
Ask your surgeon what his or her plan is for rehab for you. Try to follow the suggestions as closely as possible to avoid adding any extra problems or complications.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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