People who have had hip replacement surgery can leave the hospital within hours thanks to new minimally invasive surgery introduced in the NHS.
Currently, many of the 95,000 Britons who undergo hip replacements every year for up to five days in the hospital will not be able to walk. But thanks to the new technology, 80 percent of patients are sent home within 24 hours.
The high-tech approach prevents the cutting of heavy muscles and tendons, making the procedure much less painful and speeding up recovery times.
The new procedure is minimally invasive, allowing the patient to walk within hours of the operation, in contrast to the earlier technique where the muscles had to be excised
Patients undergoing the radical new procedure can be released home the next day
Paul Robertson, 51, a business consultant from Leicestershire, was the first patient to perform the operation on the NHS at the Leicester General Hospital in April. A few hours after the procedure the father of three walked up the stairs with the help of crutches and returned home the next morning.
He says, "I expected to be in pain later, but instead the pain was minimal."
The hip joint consists of a ball attached to the end of the femur – also known as the femur – and a cup that forms part of the pelvis. Hip replacements include replacing the damaged ball and coming for new, artificial parts.
This is usually needed in patients between 60 and 80 who develop arthritis in the joint.
This happens when the cartilage – the smooth elastic tissue that protects the joint – wears away. The bones on both sides then rub over the joint, creating friction that causes pain and influences movement. With a traditional hip replacement, the surgeon makes a large cut of approximately 20 cm through the thigh muscle and moves the hip to make room to insert the new joint. But the new method, called SuperPath, is much less invasive and requires an incision of only 5 cm.
Instead of cutting through the muscle, it is simply pushed aside. No dislocation is required either because the surgeon uses complex movements and tools to reach the damaged bowl.
"The approach causes very little damage to the tissue around the hip," says Ashwin Kulkarni, consultant orthopedic surgeon at Leicester NHS Trust University Hospitals. "This means that there is less blood loss and pain and that recovery is much faster.
"Patients can get their full hip function back very quickly."
Another benefit is that it reduces the risk of patients dislocating their hip in the months following surgery, which can occur with normal hip replacements. "Because we don't dislocate the hip, the joint becomes stronger afterwards," says Kulkarni.
The operation, which lasts one hour, is normally performed under general anesthesia. With the patient on their side, the surgeon makes the 5 cm incision over the buttock. The hip muscles are moved to both sides to expose the joint. Although the incision is smaller than with normal hip surgery, the surgeon can still look clearly inside. The joint is surrounded by a rigid layer of tissue called the hip capsule that is cut with a hot scalpel to expose the ball. The surgeon then uses a drill to create a hollow vertical space in the femur.
The old, sick ball, which is attached to the end of the femur, is cut off and removed.
Subsequently, after reforming the old canister, a new titanium canister is fitted with a cushioned plastic or ceramic liner. Finally, a titanium alloy stem – the stick of the new artificial joint – is used to fill the hollow opening in the femur.
The new artificial ball is attached to this piece of metal and placed in position in the pelvis bowl.
When the new joint is mounted, the muscles are put back in place and the incision is sewn up.
Mr. Robertson, an avid sportsman, had the procedure to treat painful arthritis in April. "I couldn't play tennis and even getting up from a chair hurt," he says.
He was back at work and drove three weeks after the operation and back on the golf course within four hours. "What surprised me the most was the speed of the procedure and the short time it took to recover.
"I got up relatively quickly and didn't walk around using my leg. Now I play again without pain. It has really changed my life, and it's great that it's on the NHS. & # 39;
SuperPath – possibly in up to 80 percent of patients needing a replacement hip – is also being tested by the NHS at Hereford County Hospital.
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