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Can hip and knee replacement surgery be done at the same time?

Q) Looking ahead it's likely I'm going to need a second knee replacement and replacement of each of my hips. So, I wonder, has a knee and hip replacement ever been done at the same time? That would cut operations in half! Would it be possible, theoretically or practically?
Rosemary, Poole

A) In theory it's possible to have both operations done at the same time (or at least in the same hospital stay), but there are a few things you’ll need to consider. Firstly, having two fairly large surgeries together will mean your recovery is likely to take longer, though it would probably still be shorter than total recovery time for having one surgery and full recovery followed by another.

Importantly, if you need both a hip and a knee replacement, and you're worried about how you’ll cope with your rehabilitation, most surgeons will recommend having surgery on the hip first. Recovery after hip surgery doesn't require as much rehab, so a painful knee won't interfere too much with your recovery. If you do well after a hip replacement, you're also more likely to cope successfully with the more intensive rehab required after knee surgery.

Another thing to bear in mind is that pain from the hip can spread to the knee, so replacing the hip joint may improve the pain in the knee or at least give a clearer idea of how much of the knee pain is coming from osteoarthritis in the knee.

The final consideration is a logistical one. Nowadays, orthopaedic surgeons usually specialise in either hip or knee replacements, so there would also be the question of whether it would be possible to co-ordinate surgeons.

This answer was provided by Dr Tom Margham for the Winter 2017  edition of our magazine, Arthritis Today, and was correct at the time of publication.

Send your questions for Dr Tom Margham to enquiries@arthritisresearchuk.org


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