Productive Partnerships

Head of Musculoskeletal Unit, Monash University & Head of Rheumatology, Alfred Hospital

Hip and knee joint replacements in older Australians – what factors predict positive outcomes and optimise quality of life?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is characterised by joint pain and impaired mobility due to gradual wearing of cartilage. It can affect any joint in the body, but occurs most often in the knees and hips. When OA symptoms are no longer controlled, total joint replacement is the most common treatment for advanced OA of the hip or knee. This is a costly, major treatment, but when successful can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life.

Rate of hospitalisation for osteoarthritis by sex and age, 2013–14

As Australia’s population ages, the demand is growing for this type of procedure. However, a significant proportion of patients are not satisfied with their outcomes following surgery. This is partially due to lack of research into the factors that contribute to a successful treatment. Whether a patient benefits from joint replacement can be dependent on several factors including age demographic and lifestyle. With support from Medibank Better Health Foundation, Professor Flavia Cicuttini will lead a study into factors affecting outcomes following hip and knee replacement. The study will focus on older Australians and will examine whether demographic, lifestyle, mental and physical health factors, as well as prior knee arthroscopy, may predict outcomes following primary hip and knee replacement in older Australians. As hip and knee replacement procedures experience growth in Australia, this study will contribute to maximising quality of life for OA sufferers.

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