Non-Surgical and Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

Chronic Hip Pain Options Include Non-Surgical and Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement
Since its pioneering start in 1960, total hip replacement surgery has developed into one of the most successful orthopedic procedures of all time. This surgery is available to patients suffering from joint deterioration in the hip area that cannot be relieved by non-surgical methods. A total replacement involves removing the head of the femur bone and replacing the hip joint with a prosthetic ball and socket mechanism. Relief of pain results and an increase in mobility is experienced by patients undergoing this surgery.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options
Before surgery is recommended, the majority of patients use non-surgical methods to help relieve pain and increase mobility for day to day tasks. Here are a few non-surgical options that may be used before surgery is recommended:

Anti-Inflammatory Medication – Relief from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis may be obtained by the use of NSAID medications, either over the counter or by prescription.

Nutritional Supplements – Active ingredients in a number of nutritional products may help reduce inflammation and slow down the deterioration of the bone, cartilage and cushioning. Be aware that nutritional supplements are not evaluated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration. This means that you should do a careful study of the product and be sure to deal only with companies whom you trust.

Walking Support Mechanisms – As arthritis advances, patients may require the use of a cane or walker. This will help to keep extra weight off the joints as a patient moves around.

Physical Exercise – Gentle stretching, light walking and other exercise such as yoga can be effective in helping to decrease hip and joint pain.

Traditional Hip Replacement Surgery
Traditional hip replacement can be quite extensive and invasive, as the surgeon is required to enter the hip joint through a series of large incisions toward the back of the hip joint, near the buttocks. Several major muscle groups are severed, making it easier to see what needs to be done, but creating a longer recovering period.

Cutting Edge Hip Replacement Surgery
Today, new techniques have emerged to make it possible to have minimally invasive hip replacement done. This new technique, called anterior hip replacement surgery, must be performed by an experienced physician who can get the job done using as few as two small incisions into the front of the leg near the hip joint. Because the incisions can be made to enter between the muscles instead of cutting them,hip replacement recovery time is much faster and less bleeding and swelling occur post op.

Other Minimally Invasive Options
Arthroscopy – This hip surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that can be done in an outpatient clinic. Arthroscopy is less common, but may be recommended by your doctor if your hip problems cannot be solved with non-surgical procedures and he or she suspects torn cartilage or loose bone fragments inside the hip joint.

Osteotomy – Younger patients may be candidates for this less invasive hip surgery which is ideal for early arthritis and conditions involving a shallow hip socket, also known as dysplasia. This surgery can delay the need for a full hip replacement by one to two decades.

These procedures can be done when surgery is required but complete hip replacement is not deemed necessary by the attending orthopedic surgeon. The final decision about which options are best for your situation should be made with the help of competent medical personnel, proper education, and the support of friends and family.

Source:, “Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement,” American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, August 2007.

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