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Minimally invasive hip replacement surgery has been popularized over the past decade when patient demand for less pain and faster recovery put pressure on both surgeons and implant manufacturers to develop better surgicalÂ techniques. What has evolved are better implants and instruments which match better trained and understanding surgeons.
Historically, the vast majority of hip surgeons use a posterior lateral approach to enter the hip joint during a replacement operation. Over the recent years some of the surgeons have been able to reduce the surgical incision (typically 8-10 in length) and minimizedÂ the detachment of surrounding musculature when performing a hip replacement surgery. The technique referred to as minimally invasive hip surgery implies a smaller skin incision (typically 3-4â€³) and requires only a fraction of the muscle detachment usually required by most surgeons to gain access to the hip joint. Although much more challenging for the surgeon, the minimally invasive hip replacement technique results in far less post-operative pain and a much quicker rehabilitation and return to full activity.
Successful Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement Surgery
Although the posterior lateral approach is still the standard approach used by most surgeons,Â this techniqueÂ is one in which musclesÂ are detached in the approachÂ which mustÂ thenÂ be repaired after the implants are placed. Any muscle splitting or detachment increases the pain felt post-operatively and healing of this repair takes several weeks. In addition, a posterior approach to the hip has some intrinsic and increased risks of leg length discrepancy and dislocation that, although rare, is still a concern.
Dr. Zehr routinely uses the “Direct Anterior Approach” which is a true minimally invasive approach for routine first time hip patients.Â He prefers this approach which requires no muscle detachment or cutting, allows for a more accurate placement of the prosthetic parts and results in less pain, quicker recovery and minimal risk of dislocation and leg length discrepancy.
The typical patient is usually able to return to normal activities such as golf, biking, swimming, doubles tennis and long distance walking in just 4-6 weeks after this type of Â minimally invasive hip surgery.
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