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Navigation System Improves Mini-Incision Hip Replacement

Posted on: 11/30/1999
New technology is everywhere, including the operating room. Total hip replacement (THR) surgery is changing because of better equipment. In the past, the doctor made a very large cut through skin, muscles, and other soft tissues to get to the hip joint. Being able to see the whole hip socket is important when replacing the joint.

A new navigation system allows the doctor to make a smaller opening and implant the new joint without seeing the whole joint. This method uses an image-guided navigation system called HipNav. A computer, software, and infrared visual system track the position of the pelvis and tools during the operation.

Surgeons in this study looked at two groups of patients getting THRs. One group had the typical full-length incision, while the other group had the "mini-incision" method. They found that the mini-incision group had better results at three and six months after the operation. There were no major differences between the two groups after one year.

The use of a less invasive method of THR is just as safe and effective as the older method. The biggest problem is getting the cup portion of the new joint in the right position. If the surgeon has any doubt about its placement, the doctor can make a longer cut during the operation.

Anthony M. DiGioia III, MD, et al. Mini-Incision Technique for Total Hip Arthroplasty With Navigation. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. March 2003. Vol 2. Pp. 123-128.

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