After hip replacement therapy, researchers suggest that home therapy is enough to help promote recovery. Physical therapy is an integral part of the healing process after a hip replacement surgery. By looking at 77 patients post-surgery, the researchers found that it didn’t matter if the therapy was conducted at home or at a care center – patients improved either way.
Study author Dr. Matthew Austin said, “Our research found that the physical therapy does not necessarily need to be supervised by a physical therapist [for hip replacement patients]. The expense and time required of outpatient physical therapy, both for the patient and the patient’s caretakers, may not be the most efficient use of resources.”
In the U.S., over 300,000 hip replacement surgeries are conducted annually. In this type of surgery, the hip is replaced with a new, artificial one in order to restore function.
The researchers randomly assigned 77 hip replacement surgery patients either to formal outpatient therapy for two to three sessions weekly or exercises to be performed at home.
No significant differences were observed between the groups.
Dr. Wayne Johnson, an orthopedic surgeon in Lawton, Oklahoma, added, “Certainly, this study has demonstrated that patients do just as well with the less expensive patient-directed exercise program as they do with the formal [outpatient physical therapy]. Patients may also find it more convenient to perform their exercise program at home to minimize the additional time and transportation cost, in addition to the health-care cost savings.”
Following the hip replacement surgery, rehabilitation period usually lasts for eight to 12 weeks.
At home, exercises should be tailored to the patients’ needs and capabilities and that postoperative physical therapy may benefit seniors who are frailer, in comparison to those individuals who are stronger.