Question:I saw a videotape in my doctor's office showing two ways to do a total hip replacement. One had a much smaller incision than the other. How do they decide which method to use?
The small incision is a fairly new method for hip joint replacement. It's called a mini-incision. Many studies are being done to compare the mini-incision method with the standard way to replace the hip joint.
Right now doctors choose patients who aren't overweight. Compared to the standard-incision group the mini-incision group is more likely to be male, taller, and thinner. In fact, the standard-incision group is six times more likely to be obese than the mini-incision patients. The mini-group also has fewer problems in general after surgery.
Researchers are working to find out what type of patients is best suited for each method. That information will help doctors guide their patients in choosing the right operation for each one.
Steven T. Woolson, MD, et al. Comparison of Primary Total Hip Replacements Performed with a Standard Incision or a Mini-Incision. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. July 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 7. Pp. 1353-1358.
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