‘Hipper’ Approaches to Hip Replacements

yourAZhealth_HipReplacement_finalWhen you find out that you or someone you care about has to undergo hip replacement surgery, do you cringe or wince? For years, tradition hip replacement surgery involved large surgical incisions, hip dislocations, split/detached muscles and tendons, and a long, drawn out physical therapy and recovery schedule. Definitely cringe-worthy.

Thanks to advancements in surgical techniques and materials, there are now ‘hipper’ approaches to hip replacement — designed to be less invasive, less damaging and resulting in speedier recoveries.

The “SuperPATH®” Approach

Unlike traditional hip replacement surgery, the Supercapsular Percutaneously-Assisted Total Hip, or “SuperPATH,” approach enables surgeons to build a traditional hip implant in-place, while sparing surrounding soft-tissues (muscles and tendons) during the surgical procedure. With SuperPATH, there is no need to cut or stretch tendons or muscles — both of which are important to hip function. In addition, SuperPATH doesn’t require a surgeon to dislocate and relocate a patient’s hip during the procedure, which is a common requirement for more traditional techniques.

The “Direct Superior” Approach

With the “Direct Superior” approach, the entire hip replacement is performed through just one small incision — which is only 7 – 9 cm in length — leaving muscles and tendons undamaged and the hip’s natural alignment intact. The Direct Superior incision is significantly smaller and less invasive than tradition hip replacement surgery, which can involve a 10 – 12 inch incision.

Two Different Approaches Yield Similar Benefits

While SuperPATH and Direct Superior approaches may be performed differently by surgeons, both are minimally invasive procedures that yield significant benefits for patients. With both approaches, patients can expect …

  • Little to no muscle or tendon damage. Because both SuperPATH and Direct Superior approaches are designed to carefully preserve soft tissues, patients experience little to know muscle or tendon damage. In addition, since the patient’s leg remains in a more nature position during the surgical procedure, patients are less likely to experience dislocations following surgery.
  • Shorter hospital stay. Traditional hip replacement surgery typically requires a 3-5 day hospital stay. With SuperPath and Direct Superior approaches, some patients can usually go home within one day!
  • Little to no physical limitations after surgery. Again, traditional hip surgery has several postoperative precautions or movement restrictions during the recovery process. With SuperPath and Direct Superior approaches, patients are typically encouraged to resume their normal physical activities in a much shorter amount of time.
  • Less blood loss, less scarring. Smaller surgical incisions result in less blood loss and less scaring.
  • Less pain. Patients who undergo a SuperPATH and Direct Superior procedure have less pain following surgery, which reduces the need for prescribed pain medications.

Which Approach is Right for You?

If you or a loved one has hip joint damage that causes pain and interferes with daily activities, despite non-surgical treatment, hip replacement surgery may be the next step. But, which surgical approach is best? Only a trained, experienced surgeon can help make the decision.

Orthopaedic surgeons at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, a Physician Group of Arizona, Inc. practice, have extensive experience performing the SuperPATH procedure and Direct Superior Approach. Both procedures can be performed at St. Luke’s Medical Center. For a physician referral, please call 1-877-351-WELL (9355).