Technological advances have enabled surgeons to perform traditional hip and knee replacement thru smaller incisions. This reduces pain and suffering after surgery and speeds recovery of function. Surprisingly the new technology is with smaller instruments to work thru smaller openings but still be accurate in replacing the joint with a traditional prosthesis.
Reported benefits of minimally invasive joint replacement include:
- Less pain
- More cosmetic incision
- Less muscle damage
- Rehabilitation is faster
- Hospital stays are shorter
Minimally invasive techniques primarily have developed for hip and knee replacement
(Total and Unicondylar.)
Not every person is a candidate for the minimally invasive procedure. For example, one who has had previous surgery; the scars can prohibit minimal exposure.
Also if one has extremely large extremity, be it muscle or fat, the incision size would have to be large. Even in these cases some of the principles that have developed with minimally invasive techniques can be applied to lessen post op morbidity. (See Rapid Recovery Program link)
A single minimally invasive hip incision may measure 6 inches depending on the size of the patient. The incision is usually placed over the outside of the hip. The muscles are split or detached but to a lesser extent than in the traditional hip replacement operation.
The minimally invasive knee procedure has also been referred to a ?Quad Sparing approach?. Traditionally the incision cut into the Quadriceps tendon and the knee cap was flipped over to the lateral side. In Quad Sparing incision avoids the quad tendon and the patella is slid to the lateral side. This approach significantly aids in greater functional quadriceps recovery and faster return of range of motion.