Patient sexual function and hip replacement surgery: A survey of surgeon attitudes

R.T.E. Harmsen, M.P.J. Nicolai, B.L. Den Oudsten, H. Putter, T.M. Haanstra, P.A. Nolte, B.J. Van Royen, H. Elzevier

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© 2017, The Author(s).Purpose: To explore practises of orthopaedic surgeons (and residents) in addressing sexual function (SF) in patients before and after total hip arthroplasty (THA). Methods: A 26-item questionnaire was sent to health professionals (n = 849); 526 (62.0%) responses were included in the analyses. Results: About 78% of the respondents (77.5%) almost never addressed SF. The most mentioned reason was that “patients do not ask” (47.4%) followed by “I am not aware of possible needs” (38.6%). SF was even less discussed (25.9%) in elderly patients (>60 years). The beneficial effect of THA on SF was rated the highest in retired surgeons (p ≤ 0.001), in which male surgeons scored higher than female surgeons (p = 0.002). The importance of sexual dificulties (SD) in the decision to undergo surgery was rated lowest by residents (p = 0.020). Rating the risk for dislocation varied between occupations (p = 0.008) and gender (p = 0.016), female surgeons rated highest (median 5); 54.1% indicated the orthopaedic surgeon is responsible for providing information about the safe resumption of sexual activity. Conclusions: Surgeons show little attention to SF related issues in THA patients, which seems not in accordance to patients’ needs. Addressing SF increases throughout a surgeon’s career. There were divergent views and there is no “common advice” about the safe resumption of sexual activity. The results emphasize the need for guidelines and training in order to encourage addressing SF both, before and after THA.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2433-2445
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Orthopaedics
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


  • Arthroplasty
  • Communication
  • Osteoarthritis hip
  • Physician-patient relations
  • Replacement hip
  • Sexual (Dys)function

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