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Surgeons at Mayo Clinic Compare Methods of Total Hip Replacement

Posted on: 01/13/2006
It makes sense that less invasive surgery for total hip replacement (THR) means less pain and faster recovery. But it doesn't always work out that way. Surgeons from the Mayo Clinic report on a group of patients who had a less invasive two-incision THR instead of the standard posterior approach.

The goal of the study was to see how hard the new method of operating was. They also looked at safety issues and results. Length of time for the surgery was used as one measure.

Complications after surgery were also charted along with return to activity. Activities measured included time to stop using crutches, walker, and cane. Use of pain meds and getting up and down stairs were reported. Return to driving, work, and walking were also included.

Results of the two-incision group were compared to the results for the group who had a posterior approach. All patients in both groups got the same kind of implant. Age, sex, and weight were the same for both groups. All operations were done on as inpatients at a hospital.

The authors say the two-incision approach is technically more difficult and takes longer. It's also not as safe as the traditional posterior approach. Patients had more problems after the two-incision THR. Obese women were at greatest risk for fracture and dislocation requiring a second operation.

Mark W. Pagnano, MD, et al. Two-Incision THA Had Modest Outcomes and Some Substantial Complications. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. December 2005. No. 441. Pp. 86-90.

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