Joint Replacements Improve Quality of Life for Arthritis Patients

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Joint replacements significantly improve the quality of life after surgery in the vast majority of patients, according to a study published in this month’s Journal of Rheumatology.

Researchers in Canada reported that although patients’ quality of life did not completely revert to normal levels most of them felt a reduction in pain as well as a generally improved ability to function after the procedure. Slightly more people who underwent hip arthroplasties found that the level of improvement was better for them than for those who had knee replacements.

Scientists investigated 504 patients with about half receiving total hip arthroplasties and the other half receiving total knee arthroplasties. All the patients were monitored within one month of the procedure for a period of six months. Quality of life factors such as joint-specific pain, physical function, social interaction, bodily pain, vitality and general health, were closely followed. The study showed that 91% of hip patients and 77% of knee patients were satisfied with their surgery and their post-operative recovery.

Arthroplasty is a method of treating osteoarthritis, a degenerative disease affectingmore than 16 million Americans. This major operation is a form of plastic surgery performed on a joint to restore its functionality and relieve pain by removing the damaged joint and replacing it with a mechanical one. The success rate is almost 95% during the first 5 to 10 years, according to the Arthritis Foundation.

Source: Journal of Rheumatology

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