Bad hips and achy knees are common issues that can be related to aging, previous injuries, or obesity. As life expectancy increases so does the demand for total joint replacement surgeries. A total knee or hip replacement allows for a greater quality of life and ensures that poor hip or knee function doesn’t stand in the way of a long and active life for those in their elder years.
In the U.S. it is estimated that by 2030 that the total number of joint replacement surgeries will increase by approximately 400% from 2005. While non-surgical solutions, like anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy, exist for minor joint pain, often more advanced solutions are necessary to alleviate the pain from more severe joint deterioration. Fortunately, there are now ultra minimally invasive techniques that can make joint replacement surgery less disruptive to your body and life.
Dr. Ravi Bashyal, the Director of Outpatient Hip and Knee Replacement Surgery at the NorthShore University Health System, is an expert in the field of ultra minimally invasive hip and knee replacement surgery and an advocate for this approach. After getting his Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, he went on to become a chief resident at Washington University in the St. Louis School of Medicine. Afterward, he became a fellow in hip and knee reconstruction at Harvard Medical School, where he was also an instructor. Dr. Bashyal currently holds an academic appointment as a Clinical Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. He maintains a busy clinical practice in Chicago and performs approximately 500 ultra minimally invasive total hip and knee replacements every year while also participating in clinical research and education.
Dr. Bashyal advocates for ultra minimally invasive joint replacement surgery versus traditional methods because minimally invasive surgeries can reduce the damage caused to the muscle and tissue attached to the joint. Because muscle and tissue surround and support the hips and knees, a surgeon performing a replacement surgery must work around that muscle and tissue in order to access the bones. An ultra minimally invasive approach limits the damage to your muscles, reducing overall recovery time.
Traditional hip replacement surgery methods involve an incision that is typically 10-12 inches long and the surrounding muscles are often detached and reattached during the procedure. This type of surgery requires a multi-day hospital visit and a full recovery time period of six to twelve months. Further, post-surgery movement is generally restrictive, and some kind of walking assistance device (e.g. a walker) is often needed to get around for an extended period of time.
Ultra minimally invasive joint replacement surgery avoids many of the potential drawbacks of traditional replacement surgeries. For example, during a typical procedure, Dr. Bashyal only makes a small incision on the side of the hip or knee. Prior to an ultra minimally invasive procedure, many patients will undergo a specialized x-ray and MRI. The results are used by a biomedical engineer in conjunction with Dr. Bashyal, to custom design a surgical plan for his or her individual case. This plan can also be used to create a 3-D print model for the patient-specific guides used during surgery. Dr. Bashyal also utilizes hypoallergenic, durable implants for both the knee and hip.
One of the advantages of an ultra minimally invasive hip or knee replacement is that many patients are able to go home on the day of their surgery. After a period of rest and rehabilitation, including monitoring by nurses, physical therapy and a consultation with Dr. Bashyal, the patient will be cleared to go home. To ensure that the patient is comfortable when they go home, Dr. Bashyal’s team arranges for an at-home care team to meet with the patient upon arriving at home the day of surgery, and several other times as needed in the weeks following the procedure. The at-home care team will ensure that recovery is going according to plan. In some cases, not all patients are able to go home the same day. If the patient has an existing medical condition a hospital stay may be recommended to safely monitor their recovery. Dr. Bashyal and his team will thoroughly review the patient’s medical history and overall health to build a personalized recovery plan that will keep the patient as safe and comfortable as possible. Above all, Dr. Bashyal is dedicated to providing efficient, high-quality, minimally invasive surgeries that give his patients the best possible recovery experience available to them. Dr. Bashyal and his specialized team employ modern, research-based ultra minimally invasive techniques to minimize pain and help speed up your recovery. You can learn more about these procedures and Dr. Bashyal’s work here.