Question:My neighbor had a total hip replacement and started walking the same day. Not only that, he came home the same week. My surgery was only two years ago, but it was much different than that. Have things really improved that much in two years?
Yes! Total hip replacements (THRs) can be done with much smaller incisions now. This is called minimally invasive arthroplasty. The same implants are still used with this method, but new devices are being developed that will change how the surgery is done.
Cutting tools and surgical instruments are also changing. New computer technology will make it possible for surgeons to put the implant into a much smaller space. A smaller incision can be made and less damage to the soft tissues around the joint.
It's not clear yet if patients getting THRs this new way have the same outcomes as the more traditional approach. Studies are underway to compare the two methods. It may not be worth it to get a patient up and going sooner if the implant fails in the end.Thomas Parker Vail, MD. Minimally Invasive Knee Arthroplasty. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. November 2004. Vol. 428. Pp. 51-52.
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