Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is a cause of disability and severe pain, but it can be successfully remedied with a total hip replacement (THR). Also called total hip arthroplasty (THA), many short- and long-term studies show substantial improvements in health-related quality of life using from THR to treat OA.
Around 20% of THR procedures are performed in people younger than 60 years of age. The general increase in life expectancy among the population further increases a need for hip replacement. Greater attention should be paid to long-term results of hip replacement surgery.
Activities to Avoid
Once you have completed the post-surgical rehabilitation process, you will have near normal range of motion in the new hip, as well as adequate strength to perform most activities of daily living. Because THA is a successful procedure, you will return to a high level of function. However, to avoid damaging the new hip, you should take certain precautions.
Patients who have a total hip replacement can return to activities such as walking, swimming, golf, driving, stationary cycling, and gardening. Remember to listen to what your body is telling you during exercise. If you have pain or swelling that last for over 24 hours, you need to see a healthcare provider. You must avoid certain high-impact activities, including:
- Vigorous walking
- Downhill skiing
Longevity of the New Hip
It is difficult to predict the life of a total hip implant, and lifespan is related to many factors. With surgical complications, new injury, and severe wear, the new hip can only last a short time, but this only affects a small percentage of people. The vast majority of new hips last for many years (10-20), providing patients improved function, pain relief, and increased mobility.
Researchers and prosthesis manufacturers continue to work to improve the long-term outcomes of a total hip replacement. Oxinium technology from Smith & Nephew is a high-performance material shown to reduce acetabular component wear by 60%. With less implant wear, the life of a new implant will be extended, which reduces the need for future surgeries.
Quality of Life Studies
To evaluate long-term quality of life and functionality in 150 patients who had an average of 16-year longevity after a THA, researchers used a validated questionnaire. In addition, The Harris Hip Score, WOMAC score, and Functional Comorbidity Index was used. Researchers found that THR had a 96% patient satisfaction rate, and patients had positive results compared to untreated people with severe hip OA. It was concluded that patients who underwent THA have better quality of life and hip functionality and perform physically better than untreated persons with advanced OA of the hip.
In another study, age was evaluated as an impactor of health-related quality of life after total hip replacement. Researchers evaluated patients from the Swedish Hip Arthroplasty Register who had THRs due to osteoarthritis between 2008 and 2010. They used a questionnaire to evaluate pain scores, patient satisfaction, and other factors. After deriving data from over 27,000 patients, they found that patients’ outcomes were fairly unaffected by age unless the patient was in his/her late sixties or older. They concluded that health-related quality of life was affected by age, with improvement decreasing in the elderly.
Gordon M, Greene M, Frumento P, et al. (2014). Age- and health-related quality of life after total hip replacement: decreasing gains in patients above 70 years of age. Acta Orthop, 85(3), 244-249.
Mariconda M, Galasso O, Costa GG, et al. (2012). Quality of life and functionality after total hip arthroplasty: a long-term follow-up study. BMC Musculoskel Disord, 12, 222.