How OA Patients Recover From Total Hip Replacement

Anxiety and depression were linked to poorer recovery outcomes after hip replacement

December 6, 2013 / Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

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(dailyRx News) Although total hip replacement is often an effective treatment option for osteoarthritis, some factors may affect how well patients recover from the surgery.

A recent study looked at the physical and mental health factors that influenced total hip replacement recovery in osteoarthritis patients.

The researchers found that higher levels of anxiety, depression and pain before surgery were linked to poorer outcomes in the year after the hip replacement.

These researchers suggested that these patients may need more support after surgery to help ensure a successful recovery.

"Talk to your doctor about a recovery plan after hip replacement."

Gretl McHugh, PhD, of the University of Manchester, and two colleagues conducted this study on recovering after a total hip replacement.

Total hip replacement is a fairly common procedure for patients who have serious, painful osteoarthritis.

Although the operation is usually an effective treatment, the authors of this study claimed that between 7 and 23 percent of patients report long-term pain after total hip replacement.

This study examined osteoarthritis patients undergoing total hip replacement to see what factors influenced how a person recovered after the procedure, both physically and mentally.

The researchers identified 206 patients (88 men and 118 women) who were on the waiting list for a total hip replacement. The patients' average age was 66.3 years old.

These participants filled out a questionnaire, and the researchers assessed their physical and mental health before the procedure, then again at six and 12 months after the procedure.

The researchers took note of the patients' age, sex, body mass index, any other health issues, surgical complications and more.

They also assessed the patients' social support network and levels of anxiety and depression. Pain and stiffness were evaluated as well.

A total of 159 participants (77.2 percent) reported having another health condition like high blood pressure or asthma before the operation.

The researchers found that, in the six months after surgery, the patients' pain, physical ability and stiffness improved significantly.

Additionally, the patients' health-related quality of life, anxiety and depression improved significantly six months after surgery. The researchers found that patients with higher anxiety and depression scores at baseline had a more difficult recovery in terms of pain, stiffness and physical ability than other patients.

Patients who experienced more pain before the surgery, as well as those who took NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications), also had poorer recovery outcomes after surgery.

The participants who had previously had a joint replaced, especially a knee, had more difficult recovery periods.

The researchers also found that stronger social support did not affect a person's mental health evaluation, but it did improve overall recovery after a total hip replacement.

These authors also emphasized that anxiety and depression, pain, previous joint surgery and anti-inflammatory medications tended to hinder recovery.

This study was published in the November issue of Bone & Joint Research.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Health Research. The authors declared no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
December 6, 2013
Last Updated:
December 31, 2013