Women who undergo hip replacement surgery appear to face an even greater risk of blood clots than other surgical patients.
A study in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal suggests that one in 45 middle-aged women who undergo hip or knee replacement surgery are admitted to hospital with a potentially life-threatening blood clot during the following 12 weeks.
This compares with one in 85 women who have surgery as part of their cancer treatment, one in 815 day surgery patients and just one in 6,200 members of the general population.
According to the research, in which scientists at the University of Oxford looked at the medical records of nearly one million women, the risk remains high during the first six weeks and is still elevated beyond that in many cases.
Writing in an accompanying editorial, Alexander Cohen from King's College Hospital noted that the true figure may be much higher "because many deep vein thromboses and pulmonary embolisms are undiagnosed, untreated and managed out of hospital".
A hip replacement in a private hospital in the UK typically costs between £7,000 and £9,000, which includes hospital charges and consultation fees.