Public Release: 

Study of hip replacement patients finds 80 percent eligible for minimally invasive surgery

93 percent leave hospital same day; Even seniors can have outpatient surgery

Rush University Medical Center

After analyzing safety and efficacy data from an initial group of 120 minimally invasive hip surgery patients, Chicago's Rush University Medical Center orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard A. Berger says that 80 percent of hip replacement patients are eligible for minimally invasive hip surgery procedure over the conventional 10-12 inch single incision surgery.

Data from the hip surgery study group, completed in April, shows 93 percent of the patients left the hospital the same day; the other 7 percent going home the following day. There was a low complication rate, and no readmission from the group.

Patient ranged from 29 to 76 in age, with even the 76-year-old patient going home on the same day as surgery.

"The patient results continue to amaze everyone, including the patient, their families and their co-workers," says Berger. "An attorney who received the minimally-invasive hip surgery was back in court the next day trying a case. A warehouse operator was back driving his forklift three days after this operation. A yoga instructor was back doing yoga three weeks after the operation, and teaching yoga at 6 weeks."

Berger, who pioneered the approach at Rush in June 2001, has performed more minimally invasive procedures than anyone else in the country, and is part of a training program teaching fellow orthopedic surgeons this procedure. So far, about 100 surgeons have been trained with 20 to 25 of these surgeons doing this surgery on a regular basis. Last year Berger performed over 400 minimally invasive hip surgeries. As more surgeons are trained, Berger believes "minimally invasive surgery is able to move from the academic setting into the community, so those who need the surgery have access to it across the country, not just at an academic medical center like Rush."

The surgical prosthesis is the same, Berger points out, but surgical instruments were modified to accommodate the new surgical techniques. The surgical procedure takes the same amount of time, 1 ½ to 2 hours, but fewer muscles, tendons and ligaments are cut and as a result the patient experiences significantly reduced levels of pain and recovers from the operation more swiftly.

The initial study was is limited to individuals of average weight to systematically evaluate the effectiveness of the minimally invasive surgical approach and benefits to the patients. As a result of this initial study, patients with less than ideal bone quality, who are overweight, or have excessive fat may be considered for the minimally invasive hip replacement. The average age hip surgery patient is 55 years old. People seek hip surgery due to arthritis. Some people are genetically predisposed to arthritis, and others require surgery due to wear and tear through exercise or work.

Berger notes that once he sees a patient for a consultation for a hip replacement, the surgery is scheduled within a month or two. A few days after the operation, the patient feels better than he has in years.

"It's the way to go for hip replacement," Berger says, "It's a procedure that is changing the way people get surgery. Now hip replacement does not require a lengthy hospital stay or recovery time. Other surgeons are excited to learn the procedure."

Last year there were 250,000 hip surgery performed for arthritis, with this number expected to increase significantly in future years.

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