Patients Rate Knee, Hip Replacement
Magazine Survey Shows Most Patients Satisfied with New Knee or Hip
May 5, 2006 -- A new survey by Consumer Reports shows a high degree of patient satisfaction with knee- or hip-replacement surgery.
The survey included 1,001 knee- and hip-replacement patients. The results, published in the magazine's June issue, include:
- 82% reported being "very" or "completely" satisfied with their new joint.
- Recovery is long and sometimes painful.
- 5% reported getting an infection shortly after surgery, a higher rate than in some other studies.
- Secondary complications were relatively common.
Every year, more than 600,000 people in the U.S. undergo hip- or knee-replacement surgery, according to Consumer Reports. The magazine survey included a nationally representative sample of those patients.
Here is a closer look at the survey and its results.
Who Took Part?
The survey was conducted by telephone in February 2006. Participants had received a new hip, knee, or both knees any time between 2000 and 2004.
"More than 70 percent had the surgery because of osteoarthritisosteoarthritis; other reasons included fractures, traumatic injuries, and rheumatoid arthritisrheumatoid arthritis, a less common form of arthritisarthritis that stems from autoimmune causes," states Consumer Reports.
A third of the patients were men. Patients were about 71 years old, on average; 15% were younger than 60. About 40% got hip replacements and 60% underwent knee replacementknee replacement.
Shoulder replacement and partial knee replacement were not covered in the survey.
Patients' Views of Recovery
The magazine provides these details on the patients' recovery:
- Most patients stopped taking pain medications (including over-the-counter pills) after two months.
- 12% were still taking pain medication after a year.
- At least 90% could do routine activities after a month.
- A third of hip patients and a quarter of knee patients said they couldn't walk half a mile as late as a year after surgery.
As for the 5% of patients who reported infections soon after surgery, "we can't tell from our survey whether those were serious deep-tissue infections or less worrisome surface infections," Consumer Reports states.
Other reported complications included:
- A seriously weakened or contracted muscle (13% of patients).
- Legs of unequal length (13% of hip-replacement patients and 7% of knee-replacement patients).
- Another operation to correct problems from the first surgery (5% of all the patients).