Spouses and partners are beneficiaries of knee and hip replacements too, study finds

Hip or knee replacement surgery can have an unexpected benefit: Your partner’s quality of life.

You can expect to get around better with less pain after hip or knee replacement surgery, but your partner also can discover a better quality of life, according to a recent study.

Your partner likely has taken on many of the duties of caregiver as your arthritic knee or hip became gradually more debilitating. The study, presented as part of an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons seminar, found that a spouse’s quality of life improves after hip or knee replacement surgery.

“It’s not uncommon to see two or more people benefit from one person’s hip or knee replacement surgery,” said Jeffrey Stimac, M.D., Norton Orthopedic Institute orthopedic surgeon specially trained in reconstructive surgery. “As the patient’s osteoarthritis gradually worsens over the years, their spouse’s life is affected as their lives become consumed with the patient’s pain and limitations.”

The study interviewed 33 couples with an average age in their late 60s who had been married on average about 36 years. They had been living with an osteoarthritis diagnosis for about seven years. Each partner was interviewed separately, and the patients had recovered completely at the time of the interview.

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Spouses reported that their lives had improved as they had become able to participate in more activities with their partner.

Specifically, the benefits spouses cited after hip or knee replacement surgery most often were:

  • Ability to carry on with social and leisure activities with their partner
  • No longer witnessed the patient experiencing pain
  • Diminished caregiver burden
  • A sense of independence to resume their normal life
  • Improved marital relationship
  • Improved social and family life
  • Freedom to travel

Patients most often reported getting around easier, resuming leisure and sporting activities, less pain and improved social and family lives after hip or knee replacement surgery.

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