Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine



My mother really needs a hip replacement. We're worried she's not safe on her arthritic hip. She tells us she's old and may be gone at any time, so why bother? How can we get her to change her mind?


The decision to have a joint replacement is complex. It involves real and imagined fears. Often older adults have heard "horror" stories from friends after their surgery. Many patients don't see the advantages of a joint replacement. The best approach may be to offer as much information as possible.

Ask her doctor for pamphlets, brochures, or videos on this subject. Don't hesitate to contact the Arthritis Foundation for more information (http://www.arthritis.org. You can call them at 800-283-7800). There's also another good resource on-line with information just on joint replacements. It's http://www.jointreplacement.com.

And be prepared to let her make her own decision. Some people see joint replacement as an elective operation. This means it's their choice and not absolutely needed. They may see the costs as too high for the benefits. This is especially true in their "sunset years." Costs refer to the financial cost as well as the need for help after the operation.

Jocalyn P. Clark, MSc, PhD, et al. The Moving Target: A Qualitative Study of Elderly Patients' Decision-Making Regarding Total Joint Replacement Surgery. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. July 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 7. Pp. 1366-1375.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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