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Former President Bush Gets New Hip

Hip Replacement Surgeries Now Performed Routinely
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 5, 2007 -- Former President George H.W. Bush is recovering from hip replacement surgery yesterday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

The 82-year-old Bush had his right hip replaced. He had his left hip replaced in 2000. His wife, Barbara, had hip replacement surgery in 1997.

The surgery's success rate is high: More than 90% of those who get hip replacement surgery will not need to have revision surgery to replace the artificial joint. Most patients can sit and even walk with assistance within two days of hip replacement surgery.

Most patients spend a few days in the hospital and begin physical therapy. Full recovery takes from three to six months.

The most common reason for hip replacement surgery is degeneration of the hip joint due to arthritis. Surgeons use artificial devices to replace the ball-and-socket joint connecting the top of the thighbone to the pelvis.

Traditional hip replacement surgery usually takes two or three hours. A 6- to 8-inch incision is made in the side of the hip. Going between the large hip muscles, doctors remove diseased or damaged bone. They press the artificial socket into place and insert the metal stem at the other end into the top of the thighbone, which is hollowed out to hold it in place.

Hip replacement surgery used to be considered a last resort for elderly patients who could no longer stand the pain of a diseased hip. That's no longer true. The operation is now routine and is often performed on younger, more active people.

Bush is an excellent example. Even with an artificial hip, the former president celebrated his 80th birthday by skydiving.

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