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Former President Bush doing well after hip replacement surgery
ROCHESTER, Minnesota -- Surgery to replace Former President George Bush's left hip went well, as expected, according to a statement released by the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. The surgery, which typically lasts about two hours, was completed at 7:40 a.m. EST. The former president is expected to stay at the hospital for five days.
"Hip replacement surgery is a not a minor operation, but it's very predictable," said Dr. Jorge Galante, director of the Rush Arthritis and Orthopedic Institute in Chicago, Illinois. "Patients can expect good results at least 98 percent of the time if they're in good health."
The surgery involves removing the diseased part of the hip joint and replacing it with new, artificial parts called prosthesis. The new parts fit together like a ball and socket in the femur and hip bones. The goal is to improve movement by relieving pain and improve function of the hip joint.
The Bush family has not released information regarding the cause of the former president's hip problem. The most common reason people have hip replacement surgery is the wearing down of the hip joint from osteoarthritis. Other causes include rheumatoid arthritis (inflammation of the joints), avascular necrosis (loss of bone due to poor blood supply), injury, fracture and tumors.
Rehabilitation to begin soon
"Hip deterioration is not life-threatening, but can greatly effect quality of life," said Dr. Galante, who designed some of the prosthetic devices currently used in hip replacement surgery. "Life for these patients can be miserable because the pain can be terrible. Without surgery patients can become totally handicapped and experience pain day and night, which interferes with sleep. Some patients can't walk from a chair to a bed, but with surgery we can make them almost normal and take away their pain."
Walking and light activity typically begins the day after surgery.
"Then begins the rehabilitation, which plays an important and lengthy role in any successful hip replacement," said Emory University's Dr. J. Robin de Andreade. "After discharge from the hospital, patients typically undergo three weeks of intensive rehabilitation prescribed by physical therapists."
Patients can often resume driving 4 to 6 weeks after the operation and return to normal activity in 3 to 6 months.
Serious complications such as joint infection are low occurring in less than 2 percent of cases. Blood clots are the most common complication and are limited by giving patients blood thinners.
Former first lady Barbara Bush also had hip replacement surgery at the Mayo Clinic three years ago. Both the former president and first lady also have Graves' disease. Doctors say the thyroid disorder and its treatment are not related to the hip problem.
The average cost of hip replacement surgery is $25,000. A major study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1996 found the operation was cost effective. It found the average lifetime savings of a hip replacement is $117,000. The difference is largely due to savings in nursing care.
New drugs shown to lessen effects of rheumatoid arthritis
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
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