People with mental illness experience more complications after hip replacement surgery compared to those who do not have psychiatric issues, a new study has found.

The findings of the research bring up an essential point to talk about between doctors and families prior to hip surgeries.

Psychiatric Disorders And Surgeries

Studies have shown that depression and other mental health conditions are linked with higher complications after a surgical operation or worse patient outcomes.

More specifically, patients with mental health problems are recognized to experience more complications after general, spine and cardiac surgery.

"We wanted to see if the same effect was true in total hip replacements," says lead author Dr. Mitchell Klement from Duke University

Focus On Total Hip Arthroplasty

Total hip arthroplasty entails replacing the hip joint with an artifical one to alleviate pain due to severe hip arthritis.

Despite the procedure being generally successful, complications such as stroke, pain, infections, blood clots, poor wound healing, heart failure, kidney failure, respiratory failure and abnormal heart rhythm may still occur.

To investigate the impact of mental illness to the outcomes of hip replacement surgery, the researchers looked into Medicare data. They were able to determine a total of 86,976 patients who had hip surgery and also had three or more mental illnesses including bipolar disorder, depression and schizophrenia.

The team then compared this group to 590,689 patients who had hip surgery but did not have any mental health conditions.

Study Results

The findings of the study showed that patients with mental illnesses are more likely than patients without mental conditions to be younger than 65 years old, female and have other health issues.

Patients with mental conditions have a more increased risk of developing 13 out of 14 complications after three months of surgery.

Infection, dislocation or breakage of the artificial hip were more than twice as likely to occur among those with mental health problems than those without mental issues.

Lastly, surgery revision and occurrence of pneumonia and respiratory failure are more than twice as likely to occur among patients with mental problems who had hip replacement.

Challenges Of Psychiatric Patients

The explanation for the study results boils down to psychiatric patients' inability to manage themselves, follow instructions and develop the motivation to recover.

Psychiatric patients may also have weaker immune systems, higher body fat and diabetes, which are all factors that may delay healing after surgery.

In the end, Klement suggests that all patients should first make sure that all their other medical concerns are taken cared of months prior to the surgery.

The study was published in The Journal of Arthroplasty.

ⓒ 2021 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.