Is Robotic-Assisted Hip Replacement Right for Everyone? - Virtua Article

Is Robotic-Assisted Hip Replacement Right for Everyone?

By Jeremy Reid, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon—Virtua Joint Replacement Institute 

Hip pain is very common and can be caused by conditions such as overuse, injury and arthritis. If you're suffering from hip pain that hasn't responded to physical therapy or other nonsurgical treatment, robotic-assisted total hip replacement may be right for you. 

What is total hip replacement surgery? 

Total hip replacement surgery removes diseased or damaged bone and cartilage and replaces it with metal and plastic hip implants that function just like your natural hip joint. 

At Virtua, we perform total hip replacement surgery using the latest minimally invasive techniques and robotic technology. Depending on your specific condition, your surgeon may use an anterior or a mini-posterior approach to the hip. Both the anterior and posterior approach are minimally invasive techniques that reduce muscle damage and pain and promote a faster recovery. The difference between the two methods is that the anterior approach uses an incision at the front of the hip, and the posterior uses an incision at the back of the hip. Your doctor will recommend the treatment approach that’s right for you. 

How does robotic-assisted hip replacement work? 

At the Virtua Joint Replacement Institute, we use leading-edge robotic-arm technology to customize your surgical procedure to your unique anatomy. Before surgery, your surgeon will use this technology to generate a 3-D virtual model of your hip joint based on a CT scan of your pelvis. 

Your surgeon will then use the system’s software to create a personalized pre-operative plan for your entire surgery. By pre-planning the procedure and utilizing a robotic-arm, your surgeon can minimize variability in positioning the prosthetic (artificial) joint and achieve the most precise result. 

During surgery, the surgeon guides the robotic arm based on your pre-operative plan. The system helps your surgeon precisely place each hip joint component. 

What are the benefits of robotic-assisted hip replacement? 

One of the major benefits of robotic-assisted hip surgery is increased precision and accuracy. By pre-planning your surgery using a virtual replica of your hip joint, this system helps your surgeon achieve optimal placement of your artificial hip joint while preserving as much healthy bone and tissue as possible. Other benefits may include: 

  • Decreased risk of complications, such as instability or imprecise placement of the artificial hip joint
  • Predictable healing
  • Reduced bone bleeding
  • Smaller incision
  • Restoration of exact leg length and muscle tension
  • Reduced damage to surrounding tissues 

By ensuring that your artificial hip joint is precisely aligned, your surgeon may also prevent future problems with joint function, such as impingement (damage to the components of the artificial hip joint caused when they rub together during movement) and early hip joint failure (premature deterioration of the artificial hip). Greater accuracy in hip reconstruction may also normalize weight loading on nearby joints in the legs and spine. This protects them from overuse and injury. 

Who is a good candidate for robotic-assisted hip replacement? 

If your hip pain is not responding to non-surgical treatment methods such as physical therapy and medication, your doctor may recommend total hip replacement surgery. Robotic-assisted hip replacement can be used in patients who suffer from degenerative hip diseases such as arthritis or hip conditions caused by injury.

If you think that you might be a good candidate for a robotic-assisted total hip replacement, you should talk to your doctor. Robotic-assisted total hip replacement may help restore your hip function, prevent future hip problems and return you to an active, pain-free life.

To schedule a consultation with a Virtua Joint Replacement Institute orthopedic surgeon, call 1-888-VIRTUA-3.

Updated October 11, 2017

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