Hip Replacement Improves Quality of Life

Elderly Osteoarthritis Patients Can Benefit from Hip Replacement

hipreplacementxray. 169 x 129 Photo by Jasmin Awad (iStockphoto)

Hip Replacement Improves Physical Function and Age Is No Barrier

Osteoarthritis patients, age 65 and older, who have hip replacement surgery are twice as likely to improve their physical function and regain their ability to care for themselves when compared to seniors who do not have the surgery. Duke University researchers studied the effect of hip replacement on daily living tasks such as personal hygiene, dressing, walking, shopping, and preparing meals.

Osteoarthritis patients who were disabled prior to having hip replacement were able to increase physical function and decrease disability within one year of the hip replacement procedure, according to study results. The best news, with regard to the benefits derived from a hip replacement, was that age is not a factor. Hip replacement can be as beneficial for someone in their 80s and 90s -- just as it is for patients in their 60s or even younger.

Hip Replacement Is Cost Effective

On another tangent, experts also believe that hip replacement is cost-effective for the health care system. While reimbursement for the procedure averages $4,000 - $6,000, it is much less expensive than long-term care for disabled patients. Health economists estimate that just one year of disability-free living saves the health care system $50,000.

A Surprising Statistic Associated With Hip Replacement

What has been reported so far about hip replacement is quite positive.

  • Hip replacement improves the quality of life.
  • Age is no barrier to hip replacement benefits.
  • Procedure is cost effective.
  • More than 285,000 hip replacements are performed in the U.S. each year.
  • High rate of patient satisfaction associated with hip replacement.

Despite those facts, it may surprise you to find out that fewer than 25% of patients who could benefit from hip replacement choose to have the surgery.

Hip replacement is an invasive procedure. Complications are possible. A long rehabilitation period is a certainty. Patients themselves may be reticent about a hip replacement for those reasons alone -- reasons that also may explain why many doctors avoid suggesting a hip replacement to elderly patients. Duke University researchers concluded that hip replacement is a valid treatment option for elderly patients who are medically eligible for surgery. If you are a patient who may benefit from hip replacement, discuss your hopes and fears about having the procedure, and discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure with your doctor. If needed, get a second opinion. Make an informed decision.

The Effects of Total Hip Arthroplasty on Physical Functioning in the Older Population. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. June 2008. George LK et al.
Hip Replacement Improves Function, Saves Money, at Any Age. InHealth. June 16, 2008.


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