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Hip and Knee Replacement for Osteoarthritis

A recent Canadian survey of more that 34,000 people revealed that the need for total hip of knee replacement in people with osteoarthritis  was more than 3 times greater in women than in men.  Surprisingly, though, women were actually less likely to undergo either procedure.  Explanations?  Perhaps women have a higher pain threshold or prefer taking medication to resorting to surgery.  Perhaps women have a greater fear of being temporarily disabled by surgery than men.  Or, perhaps women are less likely to discuss their joint pain with their physicians.  If so, they would be less likely to be referred to an orthopedic surgeon for further evaluation and a recommendation for joint replacement.

Patients with osteoarthritis should be aware that surgery is not always the only option.  There are now several prescription medicines to treat osteoarthritis which have been shown to be more effective than over-the-counter preparations; and they're not all the same.  In addition, a product called Synvisc may help many patients with osteoarthritis avoid surgery.

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Created: 8/7/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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