Case Studies

A new hip for an 87 year old: the surgeon’s Siren song

I saw an elder gent a month ago;  his hip pain was getting worse ….  He’d seen a surgeon.

“You’ll be out of the hospital and rehab, home in 3 weeks” the surgeon said.

“You’ll be doing nothing but rehab and exercises for 3 MONTHS;   you’ll be at limited power for six months;  it will be a year to be 95%” I said.

He came in today for a preop evaluation.  Even though he’s been out mowing his lawn and doing most of what he wants, he thinks surgery will make him “better.”  He has “good insurance” and has chosen to proceed.

I’m reasonably confident he will “do well” perioperatively but I’m dubious that he’ll be “better” in the long run.

– excerpt from this afternoon’s office hours

Ted Herwig MD, family physician

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