A patient's mental health plays a role in how much pain he experiences following knee and hip replacement surgery, according to a pair of studies presented last week at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Francisco.
In one study, researchers surveyed 97 patients who were about to undergo total knee arthroplasty to assess their anxiety levels when faced with stressful events such as surgery, their typical levels of anxiety and their potential for "catastrophizing" - an extreme response to stress that manifests in rumination, magnification and perceived helplessness.
After measuring pain scores in patients for 7 days following their surgeries, the researchers discovered that catastrophizing did not influence how much pain patients experienced. However, men with anxiety traits experienced high levels of post-op pain that extended their hospital stays during recovery. Anxiety was not an accurate predictor of post-op pain in women, according to the study, which notes women experienced higher post-op pain than men and were generally less satisfied with the level of pain control they received.
In a second report, researchers examined approximately 1,650 patients who took antidepressants up to 3 years before undergoing hip replacement surgery. Surveys given to patients before and 1 year after procedures revealed that patients who took antidepressants reported greater pain and dissatisfaction with their surgeries' results.
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