The "bikini" incision: less pain, less blood loss and faster recovery in hip surgeries
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Thaler, head of endoprosthetics at Helios Hospital München West, is a pioneer of a particularly gentle surgical technique for hip operations. He has been operating on patients for over 20 years using the so-called bikini incision.
In Germany, about 200,000 artificial hip joints are implanted every year. Although the operation is now a standard procedure at most hospitals, there are still significant differences in the access technique. While hip operations in many places still involve large incisions in the hip and thigh, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Martin Thaler, head physician of the Endoprosthetics Center at Helios Hospital München West, uses a tissue-conserving, minimally invasive access method for inserting the new joint. With the help of the so-called bikini incision, Thaler reaches the hip joint through a natural muscle cleft without severing any nerve tracts.
"The incision is only a few centimeters wide and is positioned so that the scar is not visible even when wearing a bikini,"
explains the chief physician, who is one of the pioneers of this surgical technique. For more than 20 years, he has been inserting artificial hip joints using this technique, which is also called "direct anterior approach."
The benefits of the bikini incision are obvious to Thaler. "Less pain, less blood loss, faster recovery and mobilization, shorter surgery times, and a lower risk of dislocating the artificial joint," the chief surgeon lists. For patients, this is already noticeable immediately after the operation: "Many report that it doesn't feel like a major operation as soon as they wake up. The first steps can still be taken on the day of the operation. When to leave off the walking aids is decided by the patients themselves," says Thaler. A lengthy rehabilitation stay is also no longer absolutely necessary after the operation, but all sports are expressly permitted. The tissue-sparing approach allows for a completely individualized recovery roadmap, he adds. "Just recently, a patient reported to me that her physiotherapist had asked her whether she was also sure that she had had a hip implanted because of the small scar," the chief physician reports with a smile. "The patient has now also had her second hip done with us."
Helios Hospital Munich West is a modern referral medical centre with 412 beds located in the Pasing District and the affiliated hospital of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The Hospital consists of the Central Emergency Department and 20 other referral departments and provides comprehensive assistance at academic level. Annually, about 24,000 inpatients and 31,000 outpatients rely on the experience and knowledge of about 950 employees. Besides quality medical care and assistance, they particularly appreciate short distances and private family-like setting.