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What is “Muscle Sparing?” Is it a Good Option for Hip Joint Replacement?

Triangle Region / 31 Aug 2021

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by EmergeOrtho
What is “Muscle Sparing?” Is it a Good Option for Hip Joint Replacement?

If you have recently had a consultation with a hip replacement surgeon, you may have heard mention of “muscle sparing.” This term refers to a minimally-invasive surgical approach that reduces pain and postoperative complications and encourages a quicker recovery. While this surgical technique is common for hip joint replacements, always consult with a board-certified, fellowship-trained surgeon when considering any type of joint replacement procedure.

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, our specialty hip surgeons have the experience, skills, and focus in patient-centered care to help ensure the best outcomes for our patients. As part of their expertise, our Joint Replacement and Hip and Knee Teams practice minimally-invasive, innovative surgical methods to help everyone Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better.

Muscle Sparing Hip Arthroplasty

Mature male orthopedic hip surgeon speaks with black man about muscle sparing hip replacement surgery.

“Arthroplasty” is another term for joint replacement. Muscle-sparing total hip arthroplasty refers to a minimally-invasive surgical method designed to preserve the muscles and tendons around the hip joint.

Rather than an 8-12 inch incision typical of traditional total hip replacement, the muscle-sparing approach only requires a 3-4 inch incision. The two most common muscle-sparing surgical techniques include:

Posterior approach. The posterior approach involves making the surgical incision on the side and back of the hip.

Anterior approach: The anterior approach involves making the surgical incision at the front of the hip, extending down toward the top of the thigh.

While minimally-invasive, muscle-sparing surgical approaches are suitable for many patients, a consultation with your hip surgeon will ultimately confirm which joint replacement method is best for you. Patients who have any of the following may not be the best candidates for muscle-sparing total hip arthroplasty:

  • Had previous hip surgeries.
  • Are overweight.
  • Have a significant hip joint deformity.
  • Have certain health problems that affect wound healing or increase risk for complications.

Benefits of the Muscle-Sparing Surgical Method

As mentioned, there are several benefits of the muscle-sparing approach to hip surgery. Unlike a traditional total hip replacement that requires detaching muscle, this more progressive method keeps the muscles intact. This causes less damage to the surrounding soft tissues, benefitting the patient with:

  • Reduced pain after surgery.
  • Fewer postoperative hip problems.
  • Faster recovery.
  • Shorter hospital stay.
  • Smaller scars.

Additionally studies show that patients who received muscle-sparing hip arthroplasty discontinued using an assistive device like a walker or cane significantly faster. Although traditional hip surgery can require using an assistive device for up to four weeks, some patients who had muscle-sparing surgery could walk unassisted between eight days and three weeks after surgery.

And, some patients have resumed weight-bearing as quickly as two days following muscle-sparing hip surgery.

Even though the recovery process is typically faster for patients undergoing a muscle-sparing hip joint replacement, it is crucial to follow your surgeon’s postoperative guidelines. These will include a physical therapy and rehabilitation program to help restore the range of motion in your hip and strengthen and lengthen the supporting muscles.

Next Steps

If you would like to learn more about minimally-invasive, muscle-sparing total hip replacement or would like to discuss hip replacement options, we encourage you to self-schedule an appointment. Or, call us any time at (919) 220-5255.

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