Question:I'd like to have my hip replacement done with the new "mini-incision." My regular doctor knows how to do these but hasn't done very many yet. Do I need to go to a big center to have this operation done safely?
There's always a certain learning curve with any new skill. This is true for doctors, too. Some information is reported about this. Studies show that doctors using the mini-incision method have the same number of problems whether they are in training or not.
A recent study from Stanford Hospital in California reports no difference between doctors with special training and doctors without extra training. They suggest this means the safety of the operation doesn't depend on the skill of the doctor. It's more likely the things that aren't under the doctor's control make the difference.
If this is true then you are just as safe at home with your regular doctor as you would be traveling to a special center.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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