Out of 147 people who returned the preoperative questionnaire, 116 returned the six-month survey and 65 also sent back the one-year survey. The mean age of patients was about 58 years; there were 69 males and 78 females in the initial group.
Before surgery, 67 percent of respondents reported having physical problems with sexual activity that included pain and stiffness; reduced sex drive (49 percent); an inability to attain the necessary position (14 percent); and psychological issues such as a lack of well-being (91 percent) and low self-image (53 percent).
After surgery, 42 percent of the patients reported an improvement in interest in sex; 35 percent said they had increased duration of intercourse; 41 percent reported more frequent sex; 84 percent said they had improved well-being; and 55 percent reported having an improved self-image.
Hip replacement patients had a higher rate of improvement than did knee replacement patients, and after hip surgery, more females reported improvement in sexual activity than did males, the investigators found.
Rodriguez said the researchers think the results show that sexual function needs to be included in the routine evaluation of patients after both surgeries to help answer patients' questions about the safety of sex after surgery.
He noted a few limitations of the study: the results are based solely on the self-report by patients and includes only those responses sent back. "It's possible only the people interested in sex bothered to send back the surveys," he noted. Rodriguez also said he wished he had consulted with an expert in sexuality. "We basically just made up the questions we thought we should ask, with some help from some of our patients," he explained.
Yet the outcomes of the study make sense, said Dr. Giles Scuderi, vice president of orthopedics at North Shore-LIJ Healthcare System in Great Neck, N.Y. "The most important message here is overall performance and self-image
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