Degenerative arthritis of the hip can cause serious discomfort to patients and limit their mobility. Often, the symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter medications, physical therapy, or medical devices. However, if these measures prove insufficient, a surgeon may opt to recommend replace the damaged hip.

Total hip replacement (THR) is a process by which surgeons removes damaged bone and cartilage and replaces it with artificial implants. First, a socket is created in the pelvis and fit with a component. Next, a stem is fit into the femoral canal. Once the components are securely fit to the bone, the articulation is assembled. A femoral head is placed on the stem and a liner is placed into the acetabular component forming a new ball-and-socket joint.

There are several ways to access the hip to perform a THR. Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) involves limiting the small soft-tissue and bony dissection. MIS-THR has grown in popularity with more and more patients asking their doctors to perform it. Young, active workers especially ask for the procedure because of the proposed reduced recovery time and improved mobility post-procedure. Choosing MIS-THR over traditional THR is a risk-benefit analysis, weighing the benefits of a smaller dissection against limited surgical visibility.

In order to be considered for MIS-THR, the patient should have generally normal anatomy and should not have an elevated body mass index. Other issues that would prohibit MIS-THR should include previous surgery on the hip or other confounding health issues.

While there is no definitively “best” approach for THR. MIS-THR is a safe and effective practice that returns patients to health in reasonable time. On the whole, the type of THR procedure depends on the experience of the surgeon and the preference of the patient.

For Dr. Amanatullah’s complete article on MIS-THR, read here.