Recent studies have shown varying results with minimally invasive knee replacement. A minimally invasive, or MIS, knee replacement is a type of total knee replacement. However, during a MIS knee replacement, the incision is smaller and the amount of soft-tissue dissection is limited.
One recent report found more problems with the positioning of implants with MIS surgery. Another study found patients had better results with MIS surgery. If that didn't confuse you enough about this procedure, here's one more study to add to the mix.
Researchers in this study found that while patients recovered the same in the MIS group as in the traditional knee replacement group, those who had minimally invasive surgery had more wound complications. These complications included infection and delayed healing.
Reasons why MIS surgery may contribute to wound problems is that there is more stretching and pulling on these soft-tissues during MIS surgery as they may be "in the way," whereas during traditional surgery there is less obstruction. Where does this leave us? Still trying to figure out which is better, but as discussed previously, there is still no clear answer.
Sources: Cheng T, et al. "Does Minimally Invasive Surgery Improve Short-term Recovery in Total Knee Arthroplasty?" Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. Volume 468, Number 6 / June, 2010.