News Release

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hip replacement information now on

Information about hip replacement — including reasons to have the surgery, how to prepare for and recover from it, and ways to avoid complications — has been added to, the senior-friendly health and wellness website from the National Institutes of Health. Consumers can visit to learn more about this surgery, which occurs most often among people between 60 and 80 years of age.

The most common reason for hip replacement surgery is pain and disability from osteoarthritis of the hip, which occurs when cartilage in the joint breaks down, causing bones to rub together. "Osteoarthritis of the hip can lead to severe pain and stiffness, impairing one's ability to function normally," said Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), which developed the topic for NIHSeniorHealth.

Although hip replacement is typically a highly successful procedure and an effective treatment for arthritis, the decision to have the surgery is not always an easy one, especially for older adults. "Surgery of any type involves risk, and older adults might understandably be hesitant about having hip replacement surgery," says Dr. Katz. "But if less invasive treatments such as medications and physical therapy have not helped, hip replacement has proven to be an effective way to relieve pain and restore function."

Adequate preparation for surgery and appropriate arrangements for an extended recovery are critical to a successful outcome, and the new topic includes helpful details about the importance of physical therapy and arranging for assistance after surgery. "Older adults considering hip replacement surgery would benefit greatly from reading this new addition to NIHSeniorHealth," adds Richard J. Hodes, M.D., director of the National Institute on Aging (NIA), which collaborated on the topic with NIAMS. "It is an excellent source of information about the surgery itself, as well as the pre- and post-operative phases of the procedure."

The Hip Replacement topic on NIHSeniorHealth, joins a roster of nearly 60 research-based health topics of interest to older adults, including exercise and physical activity, safe use of medicines and management of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's disease. A joint effort of the National Institute on Aging and the National Library of Medicine (NLM) at NIH, NIHSeniorHealth has senior-friendly features such as large print and opened-captioned videos to make the information on the site easy to see, understand and navigate. Recently redesigned for today's older adults, who have some experience using the Internet to search for health information, NIHSeniorHealth now features a search function that enhances finding what seniors are looking for on the site.

NIA leads the federal government effort conducting and supporting research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. The institute’s broad scientific program seeks to understand the nature of aging and to extend the healthy, active years of life. For more information on research, aging, and health, go to NLM is the world's largest library of the health sciences and collects, organizes and makes available biomedical science information to scientists, health professionals and the public. For more information, visit the website at

The mission of NIAMS, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Institutes of Health, is to support research into the causes, treatment and prevention of arthritis and musculoskeletal and skin diseases; the training of basic and clinical scientists to carry out this research; and the dissemination of information on research progress in these diseases. For more information about NIAMS, call the information clearinghouse at (301) 495-4484 or (877) 22-NIAMS (free call) or visit the NIAMS website at

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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