Richard G. Petty, MD

Emotions and Recovery from Hip Surgery

A patient’s emotional state plays a significant role in his or her recovery from hip surgery according to research from Saint Louis University. This research was particularly interesting because the researchers were not looking for a link.

Orthopedic surgeons typically use two tests to determine if a patient has recovered from hip surgery: one is a clinical measure of hip function and the second is a patient questionnaire that looks at a number of factors that may play a role in the overall success of the surgical procedure. Originally the research was simply designed to see if the two measures, the clinical one that has been in use for decades, the other, a new subjective scale, correlated in some way.

The clinical test found good-to-excellent results, while the self-test taken by the same patients showed significantly worse recovery. The disparity could be explained by a section of questions on the self-test that are not addressed by the clinical test: those dealing with emotional well-being. After post-operative mobility, the patient’s emotional status was the most important factor in determining how well he or she thought recovery was going.

It is common for doctors to think that patients are doing well because they have achieved a good technical result. But if the patient is still miserable, depressed and in pain, we should not congratulate ourselves on a job well done.

Yet a great many people are denied the help that they need. For instance they may have already had depression or they may be depressed because of pain and immobility. It does not really matter which came first. If the psychological aspects of the illness or the surgery are not addressed, people are not likely to recover. The same goes for having poor nutrition or poor social supports.

The whole point of Integrated Medicine is to address every aspect of a person: physical, psychological, social, subtle and spiritual.

This study provides further evidence that if we only look at the physical aspects of a problem or an intervention, we are going to miss the boat.

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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