Minimally invasive outpatient hip replacement can reduce recovery time for many patients.
More than 300,000 hip replacements are performed each year in the United States, making it one of the most common surgeries performed—just behind spine surgery. Replacement of the hip can be:
- Partial replacement (hip hemiarthroplasty)
- Total replacement of the joint and its accompanying socket (acetabulum) with a prosthetic socket
A minimally invasive version of this operation can reduce recovery time for many patients and be performed as an outpatient procedure.
Why Consider Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement?
While most hip replacements are performed on patients 60-80 years of age, damage to the hip joint can occur at any age. Total hip replacement may become necessary if the joint becomes deformed or worn due to age-related wear and tear. The hip joint may also become damaged due to sudden trauma, such as a hard impact or fall, or from a serious infection or injury.
How Does It Differ from Traditional Hip Replacement?
Traditional hip replacement involves large, 10-12 inch incisions and detachment or splitting of muscles from the hip. One or two incisions can be used for minimally invasive total hip replacement. With the single-incision procedure, the cut usually measures 3-6 inches. Muscles may still need to be detached or split, but to a lesser extent than with a traditional procedure.
The two-incision procedure is more common. It involves two 2-3 inch incisions over the groin and buttock. Specially designed instruments are used to perform the replacement. X-ray guidance may be used to help the surgeon view the affected part of the hip joint. During the procedure:
- Damaged bone is removed
- The hip socket is cleared
- The new hip socket is put into place with surgical screws or bone cement
- A femoral implant (stem) is inserted into the hollowed out femur
- An artificial femoral ball is attached to the stem
Who is an Ideal Candidate for the Procedure?
Preferred candidates for minimally invasive surgeries like hip replacement are usually generally healthy without serious underlying medical conditions. Patients who have had prior hip surgeries or individuals with significant deformities of the hip joint are less suitable for this type of surgery. Surgeons generally recommend the procedure for patients who will likely be fully committed to actively participating in follow-up rehabilitation to increase the odds of seeing positive results from the procedure.
How Do Patients Benefit from Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement?
Several important advancements have been made with minimally invasive hip replacement, especially within the past 10-15 years as the procedure has become more common. Long-term results are similar to what’s seen with traditional hip replacement. Patients often experience:
- Fewer complication risks
- Less damage to soft tissues
- Faster healing and recovery
Some individuals who have outpatient minimally invasive total hip replacement may need to stay for further observation. For patients who are able to go home the same day of the procedure, initial rest and modification of activities will be necessary. As healing continues, physical therapy or rehabilitation is usually recommended to recondition muscles and encourage normal movement of the new hip socket.