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Hip replacement improves function, saves money, at any age
Date:6/16/2008

(DURHAM, NC) Seniors with osteoarthritis who undergo total hip replacement are twice as likely as those who do not to show improvements in physical functioning and increased ability to care for themselves, according to researchers at Duke University Medical Center.

The study, which is the largest of its kind conducted to date, found that there is no age limit on the benefits of hip replacement for patients.

Researchers found that total hip replacements provide a cost savings to the health care system because reimbursement for the procedure (averaging $4,000 - $6,000) proves less costly than the long-term cost of health care for the disabled.

In addition to improved quality of life, health economists estimate savings associated with a year of a disability-free life at approximately $50,000, including all related health-care costs incurred by disabled patients such as hospital stays, nursing homes and home health care.

"We found that total hip arthroplasty improves everyday life for patients and is as beneficial to people in their 80s or 90s as it is for someone in their 60s," said Linda George, Ph.D., professor of Sociology and associate director of the Duke Center for the Study of Aging.

"While the number of surgeries conducted in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the last decade, fewer than 25 percent of patients who could benefit from the procedure elect to receive it."

Osteoarthritis of the hip is a progressive type of arthritis closely associated with aging and obesity. It affects about 10 million Americans, causing pain, decreased mobility and increased risk of falls and fractures.

Generally, non-surgical treatment is first recommended to reduce joint pain and inflammation and improve joint function. Hip replacements are performed when less invasive forms of treatment medications and physical therapy have failed.

"Osteoarthritis of the hip has a devastating impact
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Contact: Robyn Stein
Robyn.Stein@gabbe.com
212-220-4444
InHealth: The Institute for Health Technology Studies
Source:Eurekalert

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