Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hip FAQ

Question:

I had a minimally invasive total hip replacement about a month ago. The doctor showed me photos of what to expect the scar to look like. I was expecting a two to three inch straight scar. Instead mine is curved and about four inches long. Why is my scar different from the photos I saw?

Answer:

You'll need to ask your surgeon this question to know for sure. Every patient and every scar is slightly different. Sometimes the anatomy determines where and how an opening is made. Before cutting the patient open, X-rays are taken and the surgeon uses his or her hands to feel where each muscle, tendon, and bone is located.

A curved incision is often used to help the surgeon remove the diseased joint. The capsule around the joint must be cut and the hip dislocated first before removal. A curved incision helps with this process. If the head of the femur is larger than expected, the incision may have to be made longer to get it out.

Sometimes the size of the surgeon's hands makes a difference. Doctors joke about finding a surgeon with small, but strong hands. There is some truth to this idea!

Justin de Beer, MD, FRCS(C), et al. Single-Incision, Minimally Invasive Total Hip Arthroplasty. Length Doesn't Matter. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. December 2004. Vol. 19. No. 8. Pp. 945-950.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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