Hip replacement: let the pain decide

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The Independent Online
From Dr Bernard Fox

Sir: I am sure that Mr Bulstrode (letter, 28 April) is correct in warning your readers not to rush off to have a hip replacement. However, I am not at all sure that his quoted statistics, or those that the patient is likely to receive from the orthopaedic surgeon, will make it any easier for them to make a decision whether or not to have the operation.

I had severe osteo-arthritis and, as a practising pathologist, was fully aware of all the possible complications and mortality figures for hip replacements, yet none of these played a significant part in my decision to have bilateral hip replacements at the age of 55. I had the operations because I was no longer able to cope with the increasing pain and disability.

It is only when one reaches such a stage that I think it is worthwhile to expose oneself to the risks involved in having the operation.

You may be interested to know that the operations were a great success but, after 10-and-a-half years, one of the prosthesis snapped which necessitated a further operation. Two years on and all is well.

Yours sincerely,



East Sussex

28 April