Joint Replacement May Reinvigorate Sex Life
Study shows unsung benefit of the surgery may be the ability to enjoy all aspects of life more
By Barbara Bronson Gray
TUESDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Although most people get a total hip or knee replacement to decrease pain and move around more easily, a team of orthopedic surgeons has discovered an unexpected benefit: people enjoy sex more after surgery.
A new study found that total hip or total knee replacement surgery improved self-reported sexual function in 90 percent of patients.
Study author Dr. Jose Rodriguez, director of the Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, created a survey to learn more about how sexual experience was affected by getting a new joint. He said he thought that if he brought up the topic by asking questions about sexuality, people would respond. And they did. "Most patients won't bring up the topic on their own," he said.
Rodriguez said that many patients fear they'll damage the new joint if they have sex, but don't ask any questions about it. Now he makes a point of telling people, after their operations, that "most of what you want to do -- physical and intimate -- you can do."
Getting total hip or knee replacement may improve overall well-being and self-esteem, which itself can be a turn-on, said Rodriguez. "Anything that causes pain and affects how you move is going to influence sexuality," he explained. After surgery, if you feel you are more sensual yourself, you're going to enjoy having sex, he added.
The study, which is scheduled to be presented Tuesday at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons annual meeting in Chicago, involved reports about sexual activity done before and after total hip or knee replacement surgery. Male and female patients under 70 years old were recruited from the practices of two arthroplasty surgeons. They were asked to anonymously complete and mail back one survey before surgery and two other surveys at six months and one year after surgery.
Out of 147 people who returned the preoperative questionnaire, 116 returned the six-month survey and 65 also sent back the one-year survey. The mean age of patients was about 58 years; there were 69 males and 78 females in the initial group.
Before surgery, 67 percent of respondents reported having physical problems with sexual activity that included pain and stiffness; reduced sex drive (49 percent); an inability to attain the necessary position (14 percent); and psychological issues such as a lack of well-being (91 percent) and low self-image (53 percent).
After surgery, 42 percent of the patients reported an improvement in interest in sex; 35 percent said they had increased duration of intercourse; 41 percent reported more frequent sex; 84 percent said they had improved well-being; and 55 percent reported having an improved self-image.