What is the role of minimally invasive surgery in a fast track hip and knee replacement pathway?

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, UK.
Annals of The Royal College of Surgeons of England (Impact Factor: 1.27). 04/2012; 94(3):148-51. DOI: 10.1308/003588412X13171221590214
Source: PubMed


Minimally invasive hip and knee replacement surgery (MIS) continues to receive coverage in both the popular press and scientific literature. The cited benefits include a smaller scar, less soft tissue trauma, faster recovery, reduced hospital stay, decreased blood loss and reduced post-operative pain. These outcomes are highly desirable and consistent with the aims of fast track hip and knee pathways. This paper evaluates the literature and discusses whether performing MIS over conventional surgical techniques offers advantages in a fast track hip and knee pathway.
An English language literature search was performed using the MEDLINE and PubMed databases. Case series, randomised controlled trials and systematic reviews were included in the review.
The reported improvements in recovery brought about by MIS must be considered multifactorial. In combination with improved clinical pathways, MIS can be associated with quicker recovery and shorter length of hospital stay.
There is insufficient evidence to indicate that surgical technique alone makes a significant difference to recovery or reduces soft tissue trauma. No consensus on whether to use MIS techniques in fast track hip and knee replacement pathways can therefore be drawn. This is especially important given that the complication rates of MIS in the low to medium volume surgeon appear unacceptably high compared with standard approaches. It is also too early to assess the long-term effects of MIS on implant survival.

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    • "A recent literature review failed to show that MIS alone results in accelerated recovery or that it reduces soft-tissue trauma compared with conventional surgery [70]. "
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