New Minimally Invasive Approach to Hip Replacements

Albany Medical Center is offering a new approach for patients in need of hip replacement surgery. The minimally invasive technique, called the “anterior approach,” involves hip replacement via a small incision located at the front of the body, often resulting in less pain, less blood loss, a shorter hospital stay, a shorter recovery time and better joint stability than with traditional hip replacement surgery.

“This is an approach that has been gaining popularity in recent years and we’re pleased to offer it here now,” says Jared Roberts, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon from Capital Region Orthopaedic Group who performs his surgeries at Albany Med. Dr. Roberts explains that not only does approaching the hip from the front (through an incision in the groin) allow better access to the ball and socket of the joint, but surgeons can get to the hip by going between muscles and tissues in the leg, thus avoiding cutting into large muscles, tendons and ligaments.

“In traditional hip replacement surgery, we approach the hip joint from the back or side of the leg or buttocks, requiring a long incision and cutting into some major muscles. With the anterior approach, these muscles and tissues are spared and patients can be back on their feet more quickly with fewer restrictions. It also makes them more stable when they begin walking again and lessens the risk of a hip dislocation,” says Dr. Roberts.

A special operating table, known as the Hana Hip and Knee Arthroplasty Table, has allowed the anterior approach to be performed more easily. The table, which looks more similar to gym equipment than an operating table, has separate supports for each leg that can be maneuvered up, down and sideways at the surgeon’s discretion.

“The table’s design allows us to hyperextend and rotate a patient’s hips and legs in a way that is not possible with a conventional operating table. We can also to take X-rays during the procedure to ensure more precision and placement of the implant,” says Dr. Roberts.