I'm not sure having a smaller incision for my hip replacement is really all that important. Isn't it better to have enough working room to get the implant in the right place?
You're talking about the new minimally invasive (MI) surgery for hip replacements. Surgeons use an arthroscope to see inside the joint. A large incision isn't needed when using this special tool.
Researchers are studying the use of this method. On the one hand it makes the surgery possible with less trauma to the soft tissues. If the surgeon doesn't have to cut through the muscles to get into the joint, the patient has less pain and a faster recovery.
On the other hand if a larger incision makes it possible for the surgeon to give the patient a better fitting implant, then who cares what the scar looks like? Some say a longer recovery time with an extra six weeks in rehab is worth the 20 or 30 years a good implant can give a patient.
More long-term studies are needed to help sort out what's important and what works best.
Chitranjan S. Ranawat, MD, and Amar S. Ranawat, MD. A Common Sense Approach to Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement. In Orthopedics. September 2005. Vol. 28. No. 9. Pp. 937-938.
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