SuperPath® Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

Information for Patients Undergoing a SuperPath® Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement

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What is SuperPath® ?

This is a new technique of doing minimally invasive hip replacement. It is through a smaller cut and with spreading muscles and tendons apart rather than dividing them. SuperPath® is also described as a micro-posterior approach. Standard approach to the hip is called posterior approach and SuperPath® is smaller version of it.

What is so different with SuperPath® technique?

In this technique muscles and tendons are spread part and procedure is done with minimal dam-age to normal soft tissues outside the hip joint. It is possible to do so because the hip is never dislocated from the joint. To dislocate the hip joint one has to remove soft tissues from either the front or back of the hip joint. When this is repaired at the end of the procedure, it needs time to heal and despite healing, there is weakness because it can never be as strong as original structure. It is because of this weakness that there are restrictions after the hip surgery, such as you cannot cross your legs, you cannot sleep on your side, do not bend too much, do not rotate hip too much etc. In SuperPath® technique this tissue is not divided hence it remains normal with normal strength. Therefore, there are no restrictions after surgery. Because there is so little soft tissue damage, there is less bleeding and hence less pain and a shorter hospital stay. Less damage to normal soft tissues is also the reason that patients have near normal feedback from their tissues – called proprioception. This allows for safer and quicker mobility. For example patients are looking forward rather than to the ground when they are walking.

Superpath Hip Replacement x-ray

Is this different from other minimally invasive hip surgery?

Other minimally invasive approach that is practiced frequently is anterior approach. Hip dislocation is part of this approach. Anterior approach also needs a special table and traction device. When things are not so easily seen with this approach, it is much harder to extend the incision and make it bigger or extensive. The learning curve for anterior approach is much bigger.

In the SuperPath approach, there is no need to dislocate; it is same as the posterior approach hence there is no need for a special table or traction device. When there is need, extension of incision allows conversion to normal posterior approach. Because the dissection is so similar to the posterior approach, learning curve is much smaller, with less risk of complications or less than satisfactory surgery.

What pain control will I need?

Generally most patients have combination of different pain-killers and it is decided on individual basis. Pain control is often titration to your needs. This procedure is smaller with less tissue damage and therefore pain needs are a lot less for most patients. However this is still an operation and it will cause pain and bruising particularly for first 6 weeks or so. You will have enough pain control medication with appropriate advise to reduce it as you go.

Recovery

Typical hip replacement surgery has 2-3 night stay in hospital with slow progress to regain mobility and independence to be allowed home safely. SuperPath hip replacement has the ability to allow much quicker recovery, you can be walking within hours of your operation and stay 1 night in hospital in most cases rapid recovery and early mobility has advantages all around in reducing risk of thrombosis/embolism, maintaining good chest and bowel/bladder function.