Joint replacements benefit older osteoarthritis patients

Older adults who undergo hip or knee replacement surgery for severe osteoarthritis appear to enjoy 'excellent' long-term benefits, experts have claimed.

Researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre in Boston studied 174 patients, all of whom were 65 or older, with severe osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

Fifty-one of the patients decided to have joint replacement surgery, including 30 knee replacement operations and 21 hip replacement procedures.

Only 17 per cent experienced postoperative complications and the majority were pain-free within four weeks of surgery.

The study also found that recovery time for patients over the age of 75 was similar to that of younger patients and participants tended to report more significant improvements in their osteoarthritis symptoms than those who chose not to have surgery.

Writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the researchers concluded: "Our findings of excellent outcomes from joint replacement surgery in elderly patients with severe hip or knee osteoarthritis corroborate and extend the findings of previous studies.

"These data should help inform discussion about joint replacement surgery and allow patients to consider the risks and benefits of surgery as well as the expected postoperative recovery experience."

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