In recent years, minimally-invasive surgical techniques have become much more prevalent in many areas of medicine and medical care, including joint replacement surgery.
The minimally-invasive surgery uses small incisions and special instruments to decrease the risks associated with traditional “large incision” techniques. The developments in implant technology also enable surgeons to achieve precise placement of implant components for superior results.
What are the advantages of minimally-invasive joint replacement surgery?
Because it uses smaller incisions, minimally-invasive surgical techniques have been linked with an array of benefits in joint replacement patients as well as in other types of surgery. Generally speaking, joint replacement patients who are treated using minimally-invasive surgery techniques:
- Have faster and less painful recovery periods
- Spend less time in the hospital, with some patients returning home in under 24 hours
- Have less blood loss
- Enjoy a faster return to normal activities, including daily activities and work
- Have smaller scars – typically about 1½ to 2 inches in length instead of 10 to 12 inches
Minimally-invasive techniques are “tissue sparing” techniques. This means they cause less tissue trauma, including less damage to muscles and tendons which are usually moved aside or carefully separated during minimally-invasive surgery to reach the joint. Traditional surgical techniques often require incisions into muscle tissue, which causes more tissue damage and a longer recovery period.
When to perform minimally-invasive joint replacement surgery?
The surgeon performs minimally-invasive joint replacement surgery for most types of joint replacement needs. This includes osteoarthritis of the hip joint and knee joint that destroy the joint surfaces and joint components. Any type of joint replacement procedure – minimally-invasive or traditional – is only considered when more conservative treatment options like medication and physical therapy have proven ineffective in providing symptoms relief, or in patients for whom those more conservative approaches are not possible or practical.
How to perform minimally-invasive joint replacement?
The specific approach will depend on many factors, including the type and extent of joint damage, the implant to use, and the patient’s own anatomy. In general terms, surgery begins with a comprehensive assessment of the patient including diagnostic imaging. In some cases, undergoing diagnostic arthroscopy to evaluate the joint from the inside, using a special scope called an arthroscope, equipped with a camera to capture images of the joint surfaces and structures.
The doctors also use arthroscope during the actual joint replacement surgery. This process transmits images to a monitor so they can view while performing the surgery. Arthroscopic cameras use very high resolution and advanced imaging technology to ensure optimal viewing without the need for a large incision. Most minimally-invasive surgeries use two small incisions – one to admit the arthroscope and one to enable the specially-designed surgical instruments to access the joint so the surgeon can perform the actual surgical procedure.
The surgeon performs in most cases under general anesthesia and the duration of surgery can also vary depending on which joint to replace.
Am I a good candidate for minimally-invasive joint replacement surgery?
Thanks to advances in minimally-invasive techniques and technology. Doctors use this special approach on joint replacement surgery. However, there are instances where a traditional surgical approach is warranted. This includes some complex surgeries or surgeries with extensive damage to tissues surrounding the joint. Because traditional surgical techniques use a larger incision, they provide greater access and visibility that may be necessary for more extensive surgical procedures.
Before surgery, a surgeon will evaluate the patient first using an array of assessments including diagnostic imaging. This process will determine whether a minimally-invasive approach is the better option, or whether a traditional approach is more likely to provide the best possible results.
Can any orthopedic perform minimally-invasive joint replacement procedures?
No, the use of minimally-invasive techniques requires specific training. And choosing a surgeon who is experienced in these techniques is critical for achieving the best possible outcomes. Dr. Karkare is a top-ranked orthopedic surgeon in New York City and Long Island with extensive experience in minimally-invasive joint replacement techniques. He uses the most advanced technology and highest-quality implants for optimal results in each patient.
To learn more about minimally-invasive joint replacement surgery, call the office today at 516-735-4032. You can also use our online form to schedule an appointment with our locations in Manhattan, Bayside, Lindenhurst, Centereach, Patchogue.