Orthopaedic Surgeons Cautiously Optimistic on “Minimally Invasive” Joint Replacement Trend

February 11, 2003

One of Rochester’s leading authorities on joint replacement surgery, just back from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting in New Orleans this past weekend, said that the growing trend of minimally invasive joint replacement surgeries shows promise, but more scientific research is needed before universal adoption of the technique. Allen Boyd, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and director of Strong Health’s Arthritis and Total Joint Surgical Center, said that orthopaedic surgeons from around the country vigorously debated the merits of the minimally invasive procedure at the meeting, and eventually the majority agreed that more research would be needed to validate the effectiveness of this technique. “Establishing the efficacy of any new technique is dependent on a number of factors including a shorter surgery time, less blood loss, fewer complications such as wound healing and infection, a shorter hospital length-of-stay, and a faster return to a patient’s lifestyle,” Boyd said. In addition, Boyd noted that he has used a minimally invasive approach to total hip replacement for the last year with the primary benefit limited to the cosmetic aspect of a smaller incision. “For selected patients, there is an overall shorter rehabilitation process as well.” Although there is considerable enthusiasm, the Orthopaedic Academy’s joint replacement specialists agreed that longer follow-up research studies are necessary to determine the success of this procedure. Until that time, Boyd urges consumers to recognize that this is an evolving technique that will likely change over the next several years, and that all joint replacements are major surgeries regardless of the approach taken. The Arthritis and Total Joint Surgical Center is a multi-disciplinary clinic that provides all ranges of treatment to people with arthritis up to and including joint replacement surgery. All physicians in the Center complete distinguished fellowship training in joint replacement surgery, and limit their practice to performing these reconstructive surgeries. In addition, many of the physicians specialize in specific joint surgeries, bringing a tremendous depth of experience and knowledge to patient care.

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