Having to undergo surgery, much more a knee or a hip replacement surgery is very taxing to your body and finances. That’s why the thought of having to go through it again is understandably not something that people would look forward to. For those who have undergone knee and hip replacement, the high probability of having to go through the knife again, which is the case in more than 2 percent of procedures done within 3 years according from the national data for England and Wales is not a fun idea.

Why do People Have to Undergo Surgery Again?
The culprit is osteolysis, a process wherein particles from the implant (the replaced knee or hip) seeps into the surrounding tissue, triggering an inflammatory response which then destroys the bone surrounding the implant. Herein enters Hormone Replacement Therapy or HRT.

What does HRT or Hormone Replacement Therapy Do?

Those patients who have regularly undergone hormone replacement therapy for six months after their hip or knee replacement surgery seems to have a lower risk of having to undergo a repeat surgery. The lowered risk is a significant 40 percent, according from a study in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases which was published online.

What is the Significance of This?

With the risk of having a joint knee and hip surgery increasing with our aging population, added to that the increased prevalence of obesity, more and more people will no doubt have to undergo a joint replacement surgery in the coming years according from the study’s authors.

More About the Study

The study assessed the probability of repeat joint replacement surgery in women who had needed to undergo their first hip or knee replacement surgery between the years 1986 to 2006. The participants’ details were then entered into the primary care GPRD database (General Practice Research Database) which has millions of anonymous medical records for patients all over UK.

In the study, more than 21,000 who met the criteria had not utilised hormone replacement therapy whilst over 3500 have had HRT for at least 6 months, therefore providing matched samples of 8100 women who have not used hormone replacement therapy and 2700 who has.

For the next three years, the risk of repeat surgery was tracked in both sets of women.

The Findings

It is very exciting for those who are advocates of HRT that those who have regularly taken hormone replacement therapy for 6 months or more after they had their surgery have a 38 percent reduction in their likelihood to require a repeat surgery compared to those who have not undergone HRT.

More so, those who have taken HRT regularly for a year (12 months) or more after they had their procedure, have more than 50 percent less probability to need more surgery during the monitoring period of 3 years while taking HRT prior to having surgery made no difference whatsoever in the risk of having implant failure.

More Significance

The great thing about the finding that HRT reduces the risk of repeat joint replacement procedure is that it holds true even if we take into consideration other factors, such as the use of drugs or medications which can impair bone turnover; suggesting it really works as a preventive measure for additional or repeat surgeries.

How does it Work?

Having low levels of the hormone estrogen contributes to bone loss and thinning. HRT helps conserve the thickness of the bones.

This is the first study that shows HRT can help prevent or minimise repeated surgery in women who have gone through a knee and/or hip replacement, the authors state.

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