I'm going to take the plunge and have both hip joints replaced at the same time. I'm fairly young (68 years old) and in good health. I have good help at home from my family. Everything I've read says I'm the perfect person for this operation. What's the worse thing that could happen?

More and more studies are showing the benefits of having both hips or both knees replaced at the same time. The overall costs are less with only one anesthesia and one hospital stay.

Patients have equal pain during recovery so there's less chance of using one joint more than the other. The surgeon has a better chance of correcting severe deformities that occur when muscles are tight or out of balance.

On the down side, any surgery has certain risks. There's the risk of infection, blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. Any of these problems can lead to death.

The good news is that death in patients having both hips replaced at the same time is low (1.6 percent). Older adults with more health problems are at greater risk.

Reference: 

Michael E. Berend, MD, et al. Simultaneous Bilateral Versus Unilateral Total Hip Arthroplasty: An Outcomes Analysis. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. June 2005. Vol. 20. No. 4. Pp. 421-426.

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