A new study has revealed that the more hip replacements a surgeon has carried out, the better the results will be. This may not be groundbreaking news, but it does highlight the importance of patients choosing an experienced surgeon.
Experts have been advising patients for years to check how many procedures your surgeon regularly performs. However, this new research backs up the advice. Here, we’ll look at what the study found and why experience counts when it comes to hip replacements.
Understanding the study
The new study assessed 12,100 operations which were conducted in Västra Götaland between 2007 to 2016. Out of these, 6713 were primary hip replacements.
The researchers looked into the number of procedures that resulted in complications within 90 days and the experience of the surgeons involved. These included both surgical and medical complications such as blood clots, pneumonia, hip dislocation and wound infections.
Patients who had been treated by resident physicians gave a slightly reduced satisfaction score. This was compared against patients treated by specialist surgeons. However, the differences here were very minor.
The study concluded that experience does play a role in results with patients undergoing a hip replacement.
Length of experience doesn’t always matter
Interestingly, while the study did reveal that the frequency that surgery is performed matters, the length of experience was shown to be less important. The length of experience didn’t show to have much impact on pain levels or health gains for patients.
So, patients should look out for surgeons who are regularly performing hip replacement procedures. However, they don’t need to worry too much about how long the surgeon has been providing the procedure according to the study.
The trouble with inexperienced surgeons
So, why is an experienced surgeon important? You won’t just receive the best functional results with a more experienced surgeon, you’ll also reduce the potential complications involved. Many patients have made the mistake of opting for a less experienced surgeon. This can lead to an increased risk of complications, as well as potentially lead to less effective results.
The thesis was published in Sweden and argues that a quality register for joint replacement surgery should be established in Sweden, following the model in countries like the UK. “The annual volume of operations per surgeon and personal feedback are pieces of evidence that may help further to improve the situation a bit for patients undergoing hip replacements.”
You can also judge how experienced the surgeon is via your consultation. Have a list of questions ready about the procedure and what you can expect, particularly in relation to potential risks and complications and how they will address them if they arise.
Choosing a hip replacement surgeon that performs revision surgery can also be a good indicator of their experience. Mr Simon Bridle has a very low complication rate in his own primary replacement procedures and he is frequently referred patients with failed joints where the surgery was performed elsewhere and has built a multidisciplinary team (MDT) to deal with these often challenging problems.
For more advice on hip replacement or revision surgery, call 020 8947 9524 to arrange a consultation.