A surgical cut will be made on the back of the hip (over the buttock), the front of the hip (near the groin), or the side of the hip.
The cut will most likely be 3 - 6 inches long. In a regular hip replacement surgery, the cut is 10 to 12 inches long.
The surgeon will use special instruments to work through the small cut.
Surgery still involves cutting and removing bone. The surgeon still needs to move some muscles and other tissues, although less than with regular surgery. Muscles are usually not cut or detached with a minimally invasive hip replacement.
The same implants that are used in regular hip replacements are also used in this procedure.
Doctors perform minimally invasive hip replacement surgery for the same reasons as they perform regular hip replacement surgery. People who are younger and thinner are usually the best candidates for this technique.
Minimally invasive techniques are changing quickly. The hope is that they will allow for a quicker recovery from hip replacement surgery, and patients will have less pain afterwards.
Talk with your surgeon about the benefits and risks. Ask whether your surgeon has experience performing minimally invasive surgery.
Expectations after surgery
There is often less blood loss and pain with this technique than with open surgery. People who have this surgery usually stay in the hospital for fewer days. They may have a faster recovery.
However, research has shown there may be more complications with minimally invasive hip replacement surgery than with regular surgery. Ask your doctor whether you are a candidate for this procedure. Also ask about complications.
Meneghini RM, Smits SA, Swinford RR, Bahamonde RE. A randomized, prospective study of 3 minimally invasive surgical approaches in total hip arthroplasty: comprehensive gait analysis. J Arthroplasty. 2008;23:68-73.
C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington, School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.