Question:I need to have a hip replacement. There's a small hospital nearby, or I could travel to a bigger hospital to have the surgery. I'd rather not make the long trip. Does it matter where I go?
Possibly. Studies have shown that patients fare better when they have surgery in hospitals that treat lots of similar cases. Bigger hospitals tend to see more cases and may have the advantage in this regard.
A recent study looked at the 90-day results of nearly 59,000 Medicare patients. Patients who had hip replacements in "high load" hospitals (more than 100 procedures a year) had lower rates of death and dislocation than those in "low load" hospitals (fewer than ten procedures a year). Patients in "high load" hospitals were also a little less likely to have deep infections.
With this in mind, you may want to travel to the bigger hospital. But bear in mind that, overall, your risk of complications after surgery is low. Above all, it's important to choose the center you feel will provide the best care. There are many factors that go into patient care. Talk with your doctor about your options. He or she may be able to provide information to help with your decision.
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