Imagine waking up in the morning with the same old hip pain you’ve grown accustomed to, then coming home later that evening and getting into bed — without that annoying and life-altering hurt. No laying in bed counting endless sheep to ignore the aching coming from your lower half. No waking up in the middle of the night because things simply hurt that badly. Instead, you just fall asleep — no tricks needed. Depending on how bad your hips currently are, this quick turnaround scenario might seem like science fiction, or at least just too good to be true. But thanks to advances in technology and minimally invasive procedures, it’s completely doable.
But that is exactly what happened to Michael B. in 2015. As chronicled by the Wall Street Journal, Michael had such severe hip pain that he struggled to even tie his own shoes and cross the street. That all changed when the New Jersey resident traveled to the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City for a same-day hip replacement. He entered the clinic in the morning, was out of surgery by 4 p.m., and traveled back home that evening where he enjoyed dinner with his wife.
Michael’s story is special — after all, his hip replacement has him back to living life to the fullest — but he is far from the only person to see these results. In fact, the majority of my patients opt for minimally invasive surgery. What makes MIS so different from traditional surgical methods? It’s all about the approach. Traditional approaches release most of the musculature around the hip, thus weakening the envelope and requiring 6-12 weeks of healing time. More modern minimally invasive approaches such as the direct anterior approach and the direct superior approach also known as the Northern approach allow for less muscle releases by choosing surgical routes between muscles rather than through them.
Hip replacements have been happening since the 1960s–and with consistently great results. This is easily backed by The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which reports that over 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the U.S. alone. With traditional methods, key muscles are separated in order to properly replace damaged bone and cartilage with prosthetic components. After surgery, patients must remain in the hospital for a few days to manage pain and prep for the return home.
In contrast, with minimally invasive procedures, like the direct anterior approach, the direct superior approach or northern approach, and SuperPATH surgical technique, more muscle is spared, less incisions are created, and the femur remains intact. You receive the same great care that you would get with a more invasive and traditional procedure, but with quicker, at-home healing, minimal scarring, less pain, and fewer medications.
A hip surgery is not a one-size-fits-all kind of procedure. Depending on your condition, you might not even need a full replacement, and a proper medical consultation is the best way to determine your situation. Still, whether it’s an injury, arthritis, or the impacts of a childhood disease causing your hip pain, rest assured that you have options for relief–and a minimally invasive procedure might be one of them!