VGH Surgeons Lead National Study on Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery

May 4, 2005

VGH Surgeons Lead National Study on Minimally Invasive Hip Surgery

It's hard to imagine a large, solid mass of a hip joint being replaced through minimally invasive surgery (MIS). But a team from the Centre for Hip Health at Vancouver General Hospital and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute has perfected this technique and will lead a multicentre national study to determine if minimally invasive hip surgery can produce better health outcomes for patients.

A traditional hip replacement requires an 8-12 inch incision, which results in a significant amount of blood loss, damage to skin, muscle, and bone, and prolonged recovery period. The minimally invasive procedure is done with a single 3-inch incision, but more importantly with less muscle damage once inside the hip.

The study, a randomized clinical trial at seven hospitals across the country, will be led by the VGH Division of Reconstructive Orthopaedics, with Dr. Clive Duncan, Head of the Department of Orthopaedics at VGH and the University of British Columbia, as the principal investigator. Approximately 200 patients will be enrolled; their procedures will be compared to assess the recovery rates, improved functional outcome, enhanced quality of life and satisfaction, as well as evaluate the economic impact of the two different techniques.

The Division of Reconstructive Orthopaedics at VGH, part of the new VGH Centre for Hip Health & Musculoskeletal Research, is a leader in this field and has established the Vancouver MIS Joint Replacement Training Institute (in partnership with VGH's Centre of Excellence for Surgical Education and Innovation, as well as Zimmer Inc., an implant manufacturer in the US) to train surgeons from across Canada and the United States in minimally invasive hip and knee replacement techniques.

The "Vancouver Method" of this MIS hip replacement has recently been demonstrated in a live telecast to an international audience of orthopaedic surgeons in the US and the UK. It will again be demonstrated via another live telecast from VGH OR to the national Orthopaedic Update conference on Thursday, May 5 at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel in Vancouver. This telecast will also be transmitted to Uganda, for the first ever demonstration of the MIS hip replacement procedure in Africa.

The Centre for Hip Health & Musculoskeletal Research is the world's first centre for hip health, bringing together a wide range of disciplines to investigate and treat hip fractures and osteoarthristis, and create new surgical solutions. The group's immediate goals are to substantially reduce hip fractures, detect osteoarthritis earlier, and develop new treatments.

Fundraising for a new building to house the Centre is being led by the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and is supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Note to editors: Dr. Clive Duncan and a patient recipient of the MIS procedure are available for interviews on May 5. Media are also welcome to attend a portion of the surgical telecast at the Sheraton Wall Centre Hotel on May 5 at 10:30 am. Please contact below to arrange.

Contact:
Lisa Carver
Communications Specialist,
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
Tel: 604-875-4111 x 61777 or Cell: 604-319-7533

Background:

The Division of Reconstructive Orthopaedics at VGH is acknowledged as a leader nationally and internationally in the area of joint replacement. Physicians are busy on the lecture circuit, are the authors of many publications, and have established the Vancouver MIS Joint Replacement Institute. The Institute, in partnership with VGH's Centre of Excellence for Surgical Education and Innovation, as well as Zimmer Inc., a US based orthopaedic implant manufacturer, trains 20-30 physicians annually from across Canada and the US in the "Vancouver Method" of minimally invasive hip replacement surgery.

The Vancouver Method is a simpler method of MIS surgery that is easier to learn, with less risk of complications as no muscles are divided. The method was developed after collaboration with orthopaedic surgeons in Germany and the process was adapted. Special equipment has been developed in Vancouver to execute this procedure.

MIS Hip Replacement surgery has the potential to reduce hospital stay and shorten wait lists for hip replacements. At least 50 percent of hip replacement surgery has the potential to be MIS.

The Division of Reconstructive Orthopaedics at VGH supports a group of surgeons with advanced training in joint reconstruction and a commitment to the development of innovative surgical techniques. The Division performs over 1000 surgeries per year and is a provincial service for the management of complex problems from around BC.

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