Sexual Function Improves Significantly after Hip or Knee Replacement Surgery More females report improvement
March 19, 2013
CHICAGO – Osteoarthritisof the hip or knee, affecting millions of Americans each
year, is known to limit sexual activity. New research presented today at the
2013 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons(AAOS) found
that total hip(THR) or total knee replacement(TKR) surgery improves sexual
function in 90 percent of patients.
In the study, 147 patients under age 70, scheduled for primary THR or TKR, agreed
to participate in a study requiring the completion of questionnaires prior to
surgery, at six months post surgery, and at one year post surgery. Sixty-five
percent of patients returned all three surveys.
The group of patients included 68 men and 78 women with a mean age of 57.7
years. Among the results:
Sixty-seven percent of the patients reported physical problems with sexual
activity prior to surgery – 67 percent pain; 36 percent, stiffness; 49 percent,
reduced libido; and 14 percent, inability to attain proper position.
Ninety-one percent of participating patients reported psychological issues
related to their osteoarthritis – 91 percent diminished general well being, and
53 percent, diminished sexual self image.
Following the surgery, 42 percent of patients reported an improvement in libido;
41 percent, increased intercourse duration; and 41 percent, increased
intercourse frequency. Eighty-four percent of patients reported improvement in
their general well being, and 55 percent in their sexual self image. Sixteen
percent of patients reported that their joint replacement surgery adversely
affected their sexual function, primarily due to a fear of damaging the replaced
Overall, 90 percent of THR and TKR patients reported improved overall sexual
function, with a slightly higher rate of improvement after THR than TKR. More
females reported improvement after THR than males.
“This study emphasizes the importance of including sexuality and sexual activity
as an important component of evaluating the functional outcome of total hip and
total knee (replacement),” said principal investigator Jose A Rodriguez MD, orthopaedic surgeon and chief, Center for Joint Preservation and Reconstruction
at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.
Hip or knee replacement does “offer improvement in sexual activity and overall
sexuality to patients after surgery, especially if (sexuality) is affected
before surgery,” said Dr. Rodriguez.
As some patients reported a fear of damaging their new hip or knee as a reason
to limit sexual activity following surgery, “it is important for the health care
provider to discuss the functional status of each patient in terms of sexual
activity and overall sexuality,” said Dr. Rodriguez. “This could be in the form
of a one-on-one discussion with patients, or (the provision)
of information booklets, or both if necessary, to
effectively determine and address this fear.”