Everything is minimizing these days. There is minimally invasive knee surgery, spinal surgery, and heart surgery. We are all minimalists, at heart. Our goal is to minimize the time and trauma imposed on our patients.
However, when it comes to hip replacement, minimal is not always the best option.
A lot depends on the patient’s condition. While minimal in this case means a smaller incision and hopefully less damage to muscles and tendons, it can work against the longterm results.
As always in orthopedics, a thorough presurgical exam and diagnosis is the place to begin.
The objective is for the patient to end up with a stable, comfortable hip that lasts a long time. Whatever the choice of surgical procedure, it should serve that purpose.
For starters, the hip is a major joint and involves a large area. With a total hip replacement, the surgeon removes the top of the femur, or thigh bone, and replaces it with an artificial stem and ball. Then a man-made cup is inserted into the hip socket.
Minimally invasive hip replacement techniques fall into two categories:
- One involves a single incision of five inches or less (compared with the standard eight to ten inches).
- The second category is called a two-incision procedure. In this case, the surgeon performs the operation through two incisions, each less than two inches long.
Try to imagine you are removing the gizzards from your Thanksgiving turkey. The turkey is still raw when you make two small cuts in his back.
Then you insert a knife in each one and you attempt to locate, inside, and remove the gizzards without doing too much damage to the rest of the bird.
OK, we exaggerate. But minimal does not mean easy.
Our orthopedic doctor puts it this way:
“The goal is a pain-free, stable hip that won’t need to be replaced.”
To that end, the main concern is to find a trusted surgeon and a clinic that doesn’t drop the ball until the patient is satisfied.
Pros and Cons From the Pros
The jury is still out on whether minimally invasive surgery will overtake conventional as the preferred treatment. According to a study of 80 patients who had a minimally invasive hip replacement (arthroplasty) performed by an experienced surgeon, the rate of complications was four times higher than with traditional methods, and the complications were more serious. (This study was presented at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.)
Generally, some types of patients are more apt to benefit from minimally invasive arthroplasty, including:
- younger patients
- patients who are thinner
- those who are willing to fully engage in the rehab process
- healthier patients, with no prior hip surgeries
- patients without a great deal of muscle
- those without a hip deformity
Higher Risk of Complications
Supporters maintain that minimally invasive surgery results in less damage to soft tissues, less bleeding, and less time on the operating table. But the record doesn’t show any difference in longterm outcomes.
All surgery involves some risk, of course. Possible complications include injuries to nerves and arteries, infection, fracture of the femur, and errors in positioning the hip implant. Afterward, there is concern about wound healing, which is why fundamentally unhealthy patients are sometimes discouraged from considering hip replacements.
Let Your Surgeon Be Your Guide
Every orthopedic organization sounds the same mantra: The most important factor in surgical success in the surgeon. You need a surgeon you can trust, someone with whom you have a good rapport. The surgeon should specialize in the type of surgery you are contemplating. He or she should have a clinical staff to support every aspect of the process— from diagnostics to rehab.
If you find a good surgeon, you can then consider your own condition and discuss whether minimally invasive hip replacement is the right choice for you. At this point in time, there’s no fixed answer.
Recovering from hip replacement surgery can be a daunting task. Not only can the pain be frustrating, but if you don’t take the right steps to recover properly from hip replacement surgery, you leave yourself susceptible to poor flexibility, muscle weakness, and bone displacement following your surgery.
Allow your surgery to be the beneficial treatment to your ailments that it’s supposed to be by taking the right steps after hip replacement surgery to ensure a safe, effective and quick recovery.
Prepare For Your Surgery
There is work that you can do before your surgery ever happens to ensure a quicker recovery. Preparing mentally and logistically for your rehabilitation sets the tone for a hasty yet complete recovery. Understanding that recovery is difficult and that you will not be able to return to your normal activities for what could potentially be months will keep you grounded throughout the recovery process.
You will also need to prepare your home to accommodate a recovering patient. Decluttering your rooms and hallways will eliminate the risk of a rehab extending fall. Preparing each room to support your mobility with rails and assistive walking devices (walkers, crutches, canes) will eliminate overexertion on your weak hip.
Opt for Hip Pinning
Hip pinning helps to stabilize the hip after surgery through the use of metal screws, rods, and plates. This hardware works to support the bones and muscle tissue through a safe and efficient recovery. Patients who choose hip pinning will have the support to safely exercise the tissue and ligaments surrounding the hip to hasten the rehab process and strengthen your hip back to its original vitality.
It also provides the structure to prevent any broken bones from healing improperly. By pinning the hip into its proper place, this procedure can prevent the risk of painful and potentially dangerous bone displacement.
Fuel Your Hip Replacement Recovery with a Proper Diet
Your body always requires a balanced diet to stay healthy. This is even more so the case when we are recovering from surgery. Our bodies require more nutrients to properly heal from the tissue tears and ligament damage that comes with serious hip injuries. Make sure that your diet consists of Vitamins A and C, Omega-3s, Zinc, and proteins to fuel your body for a successful and quick recovery.
Being limited by surgery is the one of last places we want to be in. There’s no doubt that recovering from an injury or surgery gets in the way of our daily routines. We have to be patient because this recovery will be temporary IF WE ARE SMART. Breaking back into our favorite activities and normal routines too early can prolong the recovery process and potentially lead to permanent damage.
Whatever it is, it can wait! We know it’s frustrating, but even a month-long rehab is better than lasting hip pain or immobilizing tightness.
Be smart about who you choose to execute your important hip replacement surgery. All-Pro Orthopedic has the expert orthopedic surgeons to properly conduct this serious operation with ease and consult with you to make the best decisions to successfully recover from your hip replacement surgery. Contact All-Pro Orthopedic today!