Question:My father has arthritis in both hips. This limits his travel and activities. He wants to have them both replaced at the same time to "get it over with quickly." We're concerned about this idea. Isn't it better to do one at a time?
Researchers are always trying to find ways to predict which patients will have the best results after surgery. A group of surgeons from The Center for Hip and Knee Surgery in Indiana followed 900 patients with total hip replacements (THRs) for nearly 30 years. They compared single THRs to both THRs being done at the same time. Here's what they found out.
The death rate was higher in older adults. Patients having the bilateral THRs had fewer total days in the hospital. This was a cost savings. They had less time out of work (or play). They only had to have anesthesia one time.
Overall outcomes in terms of physical function and life of the implant were the same between the two groups. Implants with the most post-operative problems were identified and reported. Surgeons can avoid using the most problematic implants when doing bilateral THRs.
All patients thinking about having bilateral, simultaneous THRs. should be advised about the risks of having both hips done at the same time. Older adults in poor health and without family support at home may want to reconsider and have one hip done at a time.Michael E. Berend, MD, et al. Simultaneous Bilateral Versus Unilateral Total Hip Arthroplasty: An Outcomes Analysis. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. June 2005. Vol. 20. No. 4. Pp. 421-426.
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