Opponents associate minimally invasive total hip replacement (THR) with additional risks, potentially resulting in increased implant failure rates. The purpose was to document complications, quality of implant positioning and five-year survivorship of THR using the AMIS approach and to test the hypothesis that eventual high complication and revision rates would be limited to an early series and be avoided by junior surgeons who get trained by a senior surgeon. A consecutive series of 150 primary THR implanted during the introduction of the AMIS technique in the department was retrospectively analysed for complications, implant positioning and implant survival after a minimum of five years.
Survivorship curves of implants were compared between different surgeons and time periods. Due to implant revision for any reason the five-year survival rate was 94.6%, 78.9% for the first 20 and 96.8% for the following 130 AMIS procedures (p = 0.001). The hazard ratio for implant failure was 0.979 indicating a risk reduction of 2% every further case. The five-year implant survivorship of those procedures performed by two junior surgeons was 97.7%. We conclude that adoption of AMIS temporarily exposed patients to a higher risk of implant revisions, which normalised after the first 20 cases and that experience from a single surgeon's learning curve could effectively be taught to junior surgeons.