Higher Education Boosts Knee, Hip Replacement Rate

Better-educated patients more willing to try the surgery, study finds

THURSDAY, Sept. 28, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Better-educated patients with arthritis who are open to having surgery are most likely to have hip and knee joint replacement, Canadian researchers find.

Income or gender were not decisive factors, according to the study, which appears in the October issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

The researchers believe their findings underline the need for community-based education about arthritis treatments, including total joint arthroplasty (TJA).

The study included over 2,100 people, ages 55 and older, with disabling osteoarthritis. At the start of the study, 48 percent of the patients had seen a doctor in the previous year for hip and/or knee problems, and 20 percent said they were willing to have TJA.

After seven years, nearly 24 percent of the patients had undergone at least one TJA procedure. The rates of TJA were nearly the same for both rural (11.8 percent) and urban (12.1 percent) patients.

The study found a significant correlation between higher education and TJA, however. It also found that among patients with similar levels of arthritis severity, TJA was nearly four times more common among those willing to consider the benefits of surgery compared with patients who were unwilling or unsure about the surgery.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases has more about joint replacement surgery.

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