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Hip replacement here and now: Methods and techniques

The Palm Beach Post’s “Ask the Expert” column features John L. Wang, MD, hip and knee surgeon at HSS Florida, discussing the different techniques and approaches to hip replacement surgery.

Dr. Wang explained one variation in hip replacement surgery is the surgical approach, which means where the incision is made. Traditional hip replacement incisions are placed towards the back of the hip and we call that a posterior approach. In an effort to lessen muscle cutting and soft tissue damage, some other incisions are used. These include the mini-posterior, lateral, and anterior incisions. If the surgeon is able to minimize the incision, the patient should recover faster and have less discomfort.

Dr. Wang added that no matter what kind of incision, the best results of hip replacement come from proper positioning of the implants, and various approaches can achieve that. A big question among surgeons is how to properly position the hip replacement. To try to place the implants more accurately, surgeons are using some newer technologies, including computer navigation, robotic assistance, and live imaging during surgery. These methods could lessen the risks of dislocation or leg length differences, and increase patient satisfaction with their hip replacements.

This article appeared in the print edition on February 7, 2021.