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Minimally Invasive and Advanced Hip Replacement Procedures

Anterior Approach

The anterior approach is the new alternative to traditional hip replacement surgery where the surgeon approaches the hip joint from the front instead of side or back. In a traditional hip replacement surgery, the surgeon makes an incision along the side of your leg to access the hip joint. When approaching from the front, the surgeon can access your joint without cutting muscles. By sparing major muscles, the anterior approach results in faster recovery and less pain. Many patients who underwent surgery using the anterior approach were back to normal activities within few weeks. An assessment and evaluation by an orthopedic surgeon is needed to determine if you are a candidate for the surgery using the anterior approach or whether a more traditional approach is necessary.

Mini Total Hip Replacement

Less invasive techniques have been used to perform hip replacement through smaller incisions and less muscle trauma. This has resulted in faster recovery, less pain, and quicker return to full activity.

In this procedure, the surgeon removes the damaged cartilage and bone and replaces them with new prosthetic parts to restore the motion and function of the hip. The new construction consists of two basic parts: the ball and the socket. Regardless of whether a patient has traditional or minimally invasive hip replacement surgery, the new, artificial materials used are the same. Your surgeon will choose the type of prosthesis that best fits your needs.

The surgeon starts by removing the femur (thigh bone) from the hip socket along with the femoral head (ball). After damaged portions are removed, a metal shell implant is pressed into the hip socket. In some cases, surgical cement may be used to secure the remaining bone to the implant. A polyethylene (plastic), ceramic or metal liner is then attached to the metal shell, completing the replacement of the socket. Finally, the femoral implant is placed into the area where the femur was removed, followed by the replacement of the femoral head. The ball and socket are then joined to form the new hip joint.

Total Hip Resurfacing

Approved by the FDA in 2006, hip resurfacing is a less invasive approach to hip replacement. Similar to complete replacement, the procedure replaces damaged portions of the hip with implants. The femur is also separated from the socket and the damaged portions are taken out. However, unlike hip replacement, the ball is then reshaped to fit the implant as opposed to removing it completely. Before the reshaped ball is pressed in, a metal shell is inserted into the socket. The metal ball is then attached to the reshaped femur.

The advantage of hip resurfacing is that it recreates a more natural hip and preserves more bone than traditional hip replacement. Therefore, it decreases the risk of dislocation, allowing patients to return to high impact activity such as running and playing basketball. The surgery is intended for younger patients with more active lifestyles – typically males under 65 and females under 55. It is not recommended for patients with low bone density levels.

Hip Arthroscopy

In a hip arthroscopy, the surgeon diagnoses and treats a damaged hip joint with the help of an instrument called an arthroscope. Inserted through a small incision, the arthroscope uses fiber optics to light the area being examined, while a video camera attached to it transmits the image to a video monitor. Saline is pushed through the joint to clear out fluid obstructing the view, allowing the surgeon to thoroughly examine the area. The arthroscope also enables the surgeon to remove inflammation and loose fragments, treat frayed cartilage, and remove bumps of bone that may be causing pain.

To read about patients who have had hip replacement procedures, please click here.