Surgery of any kind carries risks but the complications of hip replacement surgery are increased for several reasons. Firstly hip replacement surgery is usually done on the more senior of us (or baby boomers as we tend to be known) and we tend to have other health issues. Many of us carry too much weight or have other health issues and so our risk factors sky rocket.
This article from is actually about the increase in the number of operations that will be needed in the next 15 to 20 years. But the interesting part to me was the number of the over 69s who required post operative critical care due to complications of hip replacement surgery. This is what was reported:
The study analyzed the outcomes of more than 500,000 patients who underwent total hip or knee replacement surgery and found that three percent required critical care services before they were discharged from the hospital.
That’s a high number. What they didn’t report was the mortality rate so if anyone knows the answer to that please leave a comment below.
What they give was these criteria for those who were more likely to suffer from serious complications of hip replacement surgery.
Patients most likely to require critical care were 69 and older, and were obese, had advanced diabetes or had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The use of general, rather than regional, anesthesia also increased the need for critical care.
with the most common ones being
cardiac difficulties such as heart attacks and pulmonary issues, including shortness of breath and acute respiratory distress syndrome. The latter requires prolonged time on a ventilator and carries a high risk of death. Joint replacement surgery carries a special risk for pulmonary distress.
“When a prosthesis is implanted, bone marrow, fat debris and cement particles can enter the blood stream of the patient,” said Memtsoudis. “The first organ to see that load of embolic material is the lung. When the load of debris is large or the lung itself is compromised by preexisting disease, the resulting inflammation in the lung can cause pulmonary compromise.”
All in all those complications of hip replacement surgery wouldn’t inspire me to rush out and get any of my joints replaced!
Reduce the Chance of Complications of Hip Replacement Surgery
I think the most important thing you should take away from this article is to do the following BEFORE thus reducing the chance of your suffering any complications of hip replacement surgery.
1. Lose weight before you go for surgery. I realise that is difficult when you can’t exercise because of your hip osteoarthritis. However if you can you will reduce both the pain you suffer now and reduce the complication of hip replacement surgery even if it is only a few pounds.
2. Do some exercise if you can. I realise that will be easier AFTER you have had your hip replacement surgery but a targeted exercise program on your hip can help you do more cardiovascular (weight loss type) of exercise. You can read Leslie’s story about managing to get some exercise and lose weight while she has knee osteoarthritis.
3. Make sure you have a thorough examination of your heart and lungs to see what condition they are in. They are most likely to be affected by any complications of hip replacement surgery.
4. Be brave and have it done with regional, rather than general, anesthesia. Your recovery period will be less and there are fewer complications of hip replacement surgery. You can wear headphones and listen to music to relax you!
Have you suffered any complications of hip replacement surgery ?
If you have please tell us your story. Or had is your new hip the best thing you ever had! There are many readers of this blog who are trying to decide whether the complications of hip replacement surgery are worth risking. So are they- only you can tell us…..