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Comparison of Two Approaches for Implanting a New Hip Joint

Posted on: 07/31/2003
We don't like to think about it, but problems can occur after an operation. Problems after a total hip replacement (THR) are the focus of this study. Broken wires, bone thinning, implant loosening, and hip dislocation are just a sampling of what can go wrong. One doctor at the Center for Hip and Knee Replacement at Columbia University in New York is working to change this.

Dr. Nay S. Eftekhar compared two groups of patients receiving a THR. The major difference between the two groups was the surgical approach used. In other words, the new joint was put in from the side (trochanteric) or at an angle from the back side of the hip (posterolateral).

The authors of this study found a much lower number of problems with the posterolateral approach. In fact, THR by posterolateral approach had 18 times fewer problems after the operation.

Wire breakage seemed to be the most common problem when the new hip was placed from the side. Using the posterolateral approach avoided this problem. Other studies report a higher rate of hip dislocation with the posterolateral approach. The results of this study don't support that finding.

Dr. Eftekhar outlines the benefits of using a posterolateral approach with THR, including a shorter time for the operation, less blood loss, and easier placement by the surgeon. According to this study, the posterolateral approach to THR shows improved results compared to operating from the side of the hip.

Mark F. Schinsky, et al. Comparison of Complications after Trochanteric and Posterolateral Approaches for Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. June 2003. Vol. 18. No. 4. Pp. 430-434.

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