Question:I'm going to have a total hip replacement next week. The doctor is using the new tiny incision to do the operation. Will I be able to go home sooner with this type of incision?
There's still quite a bit of debate over the advantages and disadvantages of a shorter incision for total hip replacement (THR) surgery. Some studies show patients walk sooner and get out of the hospital faster. Other studies show no difference between the standard incision and the new mini-incision.
A recent study was done comparing 104 patients with a mini-incision to 105 patients with a standard incision. The surgeon was used to doing many THRs each year. There were only small differences in the two types of surgeries.
Surgery time and blood loss was the same for both groups. Pain levels and medication used for pain was the same between groups. Pain levels and walking ability were measured six weeks later. There was no difference between the two groups.
More studies are needed to compare short-term and long-term results with both types of incisions. For now it's clear that you may not go home any sooner but you won't be delayed either. The hospital stay seems to be linked more closely to anemia present before the operation and made worse from blood loss during the operation.Luke Ogonda, MRCS, et al. A Minimal-Incision Technique in Total Hip Arthroplasty Does Not Improve Early Postoperative Outcomes. In Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. April 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 4. Pp. 701-710.
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