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Original article

Vol. 154 No. 1 (2024)

Clinical reasoning for the continuation or discontinuation of hip precautions after total hip arthroplasty in Switzerland: a qualitative study

  • Jaroslaw Krygowski
  • Leah Reicherzer
  • Thimo Marcin
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2024;154:3536


BACKGROUND: Growing evidence raises doubts about the need for routine hip precautions after primary total hip replacements to reduce the risk of postoperative dislocation. However, hip precautions are still routinely and widely prescribed in postoperative care in Switzerland. We aimed to investigate experts’ clinical reasoning for hip precaution recommendations after total hip arthroplasty.

METHODS: Using a convenience sampling strategy, 14 semi-structured expert interviews were conducted with surgeons, physiotherapists, and occupational therapists in the vicinity of an inpatient rehabilitation clinic in Switzerland. Data analysis followed Mayring’s principle of inductive and deductive structuring content analysis.

RESULTS: Expert statements from the interviews were summarised into four main categories and 10 subcategories. Categories included statements on the incidences of dislocation and underlying risk factors; current preferences and use of hip precautions; their effect on physical function, anxiety, or costs; and patient’s adherence to the movement restrictions. Hip surgeons routinely prescribed hip precautions, although in different variations. Fear of dislocation and caution are barriers to changing current practice. Some surgeons are considering individualised prescribing based on patients’ risk of dislocation, which therapists would welcome.

CONCLUSION: A lack of clear instructions from the surgeon leads to ambiguity among therapists outside the acute hospital. A shared understanding of the need for and nature of hip precautions, guidelines from societies, or at least specific instructions from surgeons to therapists are warranted.


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