JOURNAL ARTICLE
RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL

The role of patient restrictions in reducing the prevalence of early dislocation following total hip arthroplasty. A randomized, prospective study

E Louis Peak, Javad Parvizi, Michael Ciminiello, James J Purtill, Peter F Sharkey, William J Hozack, Richard H Rothman
Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. American Volume 2005, 87 (2): 247-53
15687143

BACKGROUND: It is currently unknown whether functional restrictions following total hip arthroplasty can reduce the prevalence of early postoperative dislocation. Our hypothesis was that dislocation was more likely to occur in patients who were not placed on these restrictions.

METHODS: We performed a prospective, randomized study to evaluate the role of postoperative functional restrictions on the prevalence of dislocation following uncemented total hip arthroplasty through an anterolateral approach. Of the 630 eligible consecutive patients, 265 patients (303 hips) consented to be randomized into one of two groups (the "restricted" group or the "unrestricted" group). The patients in both groups were asked to limit the range of motion of the hip to <90 degrees of flexion and 45 degrees of external and internal rotation and to avoid adduction for the first six weeks after the procedure. The patients in the restricted group were instructed to comply with additional hip precautions during the first six weeks postoperatively. Specifically, these patients were managed with the placement of an abduction pillow in the operating room before bed transfer and used pillows to maintain abduction while in bed; used elevated toilet seats and elevated chairs in the hospital, in the rehabilitation facility, and at home; and were prevented from sleeping on the side, from driving, and from being a passenger in an automobile. All patients were followed for a minimum of six months postoperatively.

RESULTS: There was one dislocation in the entire cohort (prevalence, 0.33%). This dislocation occurred in a patient in the restricted group during transfer from the operating table to a bed with an abduction pillow in place. Patients in the unrestricted group were found to return to side-sleeping sooner (p < 0.001), to ride in automobiles more often (p < 0.026), to drive automobiles more often (p < 0.001), to return to work sooner (p < 0.001), and to have a higher level of satisfaction with the pace of their recovery (p < 0.001) than those in the restricted group. There was an additional expenditure of approximately $655 per patient in the restricted group.

CONCLUSIONS: Total hip arthroplasty through an anterolateral approach is likely to be associated with a low dislocation rate. Removal of several restrictions did not increase the prevalence of dislocation following primary hip arthroplasty at our institution. However, it did promote substantially lower costs and was associated with a higher level of patient satisfaction as patients achieved a faster return to daily functions in the early postoperative period.

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