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Advisory Statement for Surgeons

Posted on: 11/30/1999
The editors of the Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research journal offer a statement on the use of a newer method of doing hip and knee replacements. It's called minimally invasive or small-incision joint replacement surgery.

A group of surgeons formed a taskforce to study the results of this new approach. This report reviews what they found from articles, meetings, and talking to surgeons who use this method on a regular basis.

Since incisions have gotten smaller over time even with the standard operation, the authors offer some definitions of a less-invasive operation. It involves an incision half as long as the standard cut. New ways of getting to the soft tissues under the skin are also used. There is less muscle cutting.

Patient selection, advantages, and disadvantages are reviewed. A wide range of opinions is offered on these three topics. The authors point out the need for more research. Itís important to get the same results using the same surgical methods and implants on the same kinds of patients. Only then can the new method be given a "thumbs up."

The final point of this article is to say there isn't much proof to support the use of a minimally invasive approach. Patients don't necessarily get better long-term results with small-incision surgery.

Brian McGrory, MD, et al. Editorial: Minimally Invasive and Small-incision Joint Replacement Surgery. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. November 2005. No. 440. Pp. 251-254.

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