Lifestyle benefits afforded by large-joint reconstructive surgery have long been known, touted, and a major driver of patient interest in the procedure. Arthritic pain of the hip and knee can be excruciating, debilitating to a point where all facets of life are affected; from recreation to driving to simple housework.
Unfortunately, finding a direct and statistically significant relationship between large-joint reconstructive surgery and increased physical activity has been somewhat difficult.
Some studies have focused on direct measures of patient movement, such as steps taken, and observed increases of approximately 20% after reconstructive surgery. Other studies, however, have found no significant improvement in physical activity levels, even with reported improvements in measures that seem related, such as pain and function of the joint.
It's reasonable to say that joint replacement certain can improve physical activity levels, but will it? With all of this uncertainty, let's throw another result into the mix.
California-based in-home healthcare provider LivHOME released some interesting findings connecting large-joint replacement procedures to cardiovascular health. Their 7-year study of 306 adults, half of whom suffered from severe arthritis, revealed that patients who had a hip or knee replaced were 40% less likely to suffer a cardiovascular attack. Heightened physical activity levels following this procedure were deemed to explain the study's result. Very interesting.
Methodological specifics are unclear, several potential confounding variables spring to mind, and it's certainly a demonstration of correlation, rather than causation, but even so, the new connection is compelling as an addition to existing literature that surrounds arthritis, reconstructive surgery, and quality of life.
One thing can be said for certain, stay active, folks.