An Analysis of a National Administrative Dataset Demonstrating No Evidence of Increase in Elective Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty Dislocation Rates When Postoperative Hip Precautions are Not Used


      • No increase in dislocation or 30-day readmission rates without hip precautions.
      • Dislocation rates appeared to decline after stopping hip precautions.
      • We found evidence of earlier discharge when hip precautions were not used.
      • Potential benefits: reduced costs and faster recovery.
      • For the health system more efficient bed usage to reduce postpandemic waiting lists.



      The purpose of this study is to determine whether there is a higher dislocation rate when postoperative hip precautions are not used for primary total hip arthroplasty (THA).


      A survey was conducted of the hip precautions used by orthopaedic departments in England performing elective primary THA. From the responses to the survey an interrupted time series analysis was performed using the hospital admissions data from the Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) database during the period April 1, 2011 to December 31, 2019 and subsequent dislocations of these prostheses up to June 30, 2020. These were used to determine dislocations within 180 days of primary surgery and emergency readmissions within 30 days of discharge.


      Records were reviewed from 229,057 patients receiving primary, elective THA across 114 hospitals. In total, 1,807 (0.8%) dislocations were recorded within 180 days of surgery. There were 12,416 (5.4%) emergency readmissions within 30 days of surgery. Within hospitals where hip precautions were stopped, the proportion of patients having a dislocation was 0.8% both before and after stopping precautions, with a significant postintervention trend towards fewer dislocations (P < .001). There was also a significant immediate change in median length of stay from 4 to 3 days (P < .001) but no significant trend in the proportion of emergency readmissions within 30 days.


      There is no evidence of an increase in early dislocation or 30-day readmission rates after stopping traditional postoperative hip precautions in primary THA. Potential reductions in length of stay will reduce the risks associated with an extended hospital admission, improve service efficiency, and reduce costs.


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