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Safe Return to Sexual Activity after Hip Replacement

Posted on: 11/30/1999
Most surgeons agree that sexual activity can be resumed safely after total hip replacement (THR). The patient usually must wait one to three months after the operation. Certain positions are safe to use. But according to this study, doctors rarely talk about sexual activity with their patients.

Doctors who are members of the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons took a survey on the topic. They were asked how often patients ask questions about sex after THR. They were also asked how often they bring the topic up.

Data on hip dislocation during sexual activity was collected. The surgeons also looked at sketches of 12 common positions used during sexual activity. They were asked to tell which positions are okay and which ones should be avoided after THR.

Eighty percent of the surgeons surveyed don't talk about sex with their patients. Those who do a lot of hip replacements are more likely to bring it up. Any discussion of sex takes up less than five minutes of the office visit. Twenty percent of the doctors reported at least one case of hip dislocation during sexual activity.

The authors conclude that waiting to return to sexual activity after THR is advised. Wound and muscle healing improves comfort. It also decreases the chances of a hip dislocation. Most hip dislocations happen in the first three months after the surgery.

Diane L. Dahm, MD, et al. Surgeons Rarely Discuss Sexual Activity with Patients after THA. In Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. November 2004. Vol. 428. Pp. 237-240.

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