Minimising dislocation after hip joint replacement surgery

Researchers from the Academic and Research Collaborative in Health have investigated whether movement precaution reduces the risk of hip dislocation post-surgery

Hip dislocation is the second most common complication after hip joint replacement surgery.

Most dislocations occur in the first 90 days after surgery and patients have, historically, been encouraged to restrict movements at the hip that may compromise the stability of the joint.

Unfortunately, these movement precautions can negatively impact a patient’s quality of life, participation in everyday activities and overall recovery.

Researchers from Eastern Health and La Trobe University have collaborated on a systematic review and meta-analysis to investigate whether this post-surgery approach reduces the risk of hip dislocation.

The team analysed data from over 9500 hip replacements and seven studies. They found that teaching patients who have undergone hip replacement surgery, to avoid certain movements, may make no difference to the risk of hip dislocation post-surgery.

“The results of this review indicate that the resources associated with promoting patient adherence to movement precautions may be better allocated to other areas, such as falls reduction,” says Eastern Health physiotherapist, Jacoba Reimert.

“Individualised education, for example, may improve a patient’s balance and coordination. Equipment, such as raised seats, may also assist with movement precaution.”

La Trobe occupational therapist, Dr Kylee Lockwood, notes the potential impact on patient recovery, health and wellbeing.

“When prescribed movement precautions, patients are unable to perform activities or movements that are commonly required within the workplace, such as bending, squatting and sitting on a variety of chairs,” she says. “As a result, they may experience financial burdens associated with loss of wages, transport and reliance on carers.”

“This study has the potential to transform practice by encouraging the patient’s treating team, including physiotherapists and occupational therapists, to disinvest from movement precaution interventions and, instead, focus on promoting active rehabilitation.”

Read the paper.

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Learn more about the Academic and Research Collaborative in Health (ARCH) and the Eastern Health ARCH.