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Minimally invasive hip replacement surgery


If you need hip replacement surgery, you've likely read about it and talked to your doctor about your surgical options. One option you may hear about is minimally invasive hip replacement surgery.

Minimally invasive hip replacement is a procedure that uses a smaller surgical cut (incision). Also, fewer muscles around the hip are cut or detached.

Other names used for some of these techniques include small incision total hip replacement and anterior hip replacement.

What happens during surgery?

A surgical cut will be made on the back of the hip (over the buttock), the front of the hip (near the groin), or the side of the hip.

The cut will be about 3 to 6 inches. This is smaller than the 10- to 12-inch cut made in a traditional hip replacement surgery, however, more than one cut may be needed.

The surgeon will use special instruments to work through the small cut.

  • Surgery still involves cutting and removing bone.
  • The surgeon still needs to move some muscles and other tissues, but less than with traditional surgery. Muscles are often not cut or detached with minimally invasive hip replacement.
  • The same implants used in traditional hip replacement are used here, too.

As a result, there is often more blood loss but less pain. People who have this surgery tend to stay in the hospital fewer days. They also may enjoy a faster recovery.

However, studies show that there may be more complications with minimally invasive hip replacement surgery than with traditional surgery. Talk with your doctor to find out if you can have this type of procedure and about these complications.

Why do you need minimally invasive hip replacement surgery?

The reasons to do minimally invasive hip replacement surgery are the same as for the traditional hip replacement surgery. People who are thinner are usually the best candidates for this technique.

These newer techniques are rapidly changing. The hope is that they will allow for a quicker recovery from hip replacement surgery, and people will have less pain or limitations afterwards. Talk with your surgeon about the benefits and risks of these techniques, and if your surgeon has experience performing them.

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Review Date: 12/31/2018

Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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