Although surgery is a major event and does entail risk, it may be a worthwhile treatment option to consider if non-operative options have been exhausted. Researchers at Duke University found that in patients with osteoarthritis 65 years or older hip replacement surgery are two times as likely to help sufferers:
1. Recover physical function 2. Return to daily tasks
The study looked at tasks such as getting dressed, taking care of hygiene, and basic walking around. Within a year those who had been incapacitated by their hip issues were able to do a lot more. Age didn’t seem to matter. Whether they were 65 or 90, the patients saw similar improvements in function. There have also been other studies reporting similar positive findings. Along with improving daily life, the surgery seems to be cost effective. There is an encouraging high rate of satisfaction with those that have chosen that route. However, not many actually do. Less than 25 percent of eligible patients—who would probably gain a better life from it—actually choose to have hip replacement surgery. That might have to do with how invasive it is. There are potential complications and recovery is a lengthy process. Some doctors even refrain from recommending hip replacement for their older patients because of these unforeseen factors. However, the researchers in the Duke University study didn’t see age as a confounding factor. In fact, if patients are medically able to go through the surgery and non-operative treatment has been attempted, they didn’t see any reason why a patient shouldn’t try the surgery. It helped research participants regardless of their age. Even though hip replacement has been proven to have a high likelihood of improving your life doesn’t mean you should automatically choose that route. It is still a good idea to consult with your doctor. The risks for each patient are different. The Orthopedic Surgeons at West Idaho Orthopedics would be happy to discuss your treatment options with you, whether it be hip, knee, shoulder, hand, or foot pain.