A prospective randomized trial of mini-incision posterior and two-incision total hip arthroplasty

Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010 Dec;468(12):3348-54. doi: 10.1007/s11999-010-1491-5. Epub 2010 Jul 29.


Background: The two-incision approach to THA has been controversial, with some authors reporting its use is associated with a rapid recovery whereas others report no differences in outcomes and a higher risk of perioperative complications secondary to increased surgical complexity.

Questions/purposes: We therefore compared early postoperative variables including pain, length of stay, functional recovery, complications, and complexity of the mini-posterior and two-incision approaches to THA.

Patients and methods: We prospectively enrolled 72 patients scheduled for THA and randomized them into two groups: mini-incision posterior approach and the two-incision approach. Preoperative teaching, anesthetic protocols, implants used, and rehabilitation pathways were identical for both groups. All variables were assessed at a maximum of 1 year postoperatively.

Results: All key outcomes were similar in the two groups: mean visual analog scale (VAS) scores for pain during the first 3 postoperative days and the first 6 weeks, total narcotic requirements in the hospital and during the first 6 weeks, mean length of stay (51 hours versus 48 hours), and mean Harris hip scores and SF-12 scores. Achievement of functional milestones was similar between the two groups. There was one reoperation in each group. Mean operative time was longer for patients in the two-incision group (98 minutes versus 77 minutes), however the accuracy of component positioning was similar.

Conclusions: We found no differences in perioperative outcomes between these two approaches for THA. Variables other than the surgical approach including perioperative protocols, patient expectations, and the patient's general health may have a greater effect on outcomes such as pain during the early postoperative period, functional recovery, and length of hospital stay. The use of small incisions for THA was safe as was a shortened hospital stay in selected patients.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00594893.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Analgesia
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / methods*
  • Chicago
  • Female
  • Hip Joint / physiopathology
  • Hip Joint / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / etiology
  • Pain, Postoperative / prevention & control
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Reoperation
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT00594893