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Educated Patients Fare Best after Hip Replacement Surgery

Posted on: 11/11/2003
Doctors prefer that their patients be educated, especially when their patients are planning to have surgery. The hope is that patients will understand better what they are agreeing to. Doctors also want to ease patients' worries and prepare them for the work of recovery.

But what is the best way to educate patients? Does it really matter? These authors report on a study done in Paris, France. Patients about to have hip replacement surgery were divided into two groups. All patients got the usual information from their doctors, along with a brochure. One group got much more intense education. Before surgery, they went to a half-day class with two doctors. The doctors gave a presentation about hip replacement surgery. The groups were very small, so it was easy for patients to talk to
the doctors and ask questions.

Before surgery, the patients all answered questions about pain and anxiety. They also answered questions one day and one week later. Results showed that people who got extra education were less anxious before surgery. They also reported less pain going into surgery. After surgery there weren't many differences between the two groups. The main difference after surgery was that those who went to the class were able to stand up earlier after hip surgery. This could be because the class had stressed the importance of standing as soon as possible.

The authors conclude that extra education can help prepare patients for surgery. They note that further research would be needed to find out which part of the education program was most useful--attending the class, the information given during the class, or the chance to talk to doctors.

Janine-Sophie Giraudet-Le Quintrec, MD, et al. Positive Effect of Patient Education for Hip Surgery: A Randomized Trial. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. September 2003. Vol. 414. Pp. 112-120.

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