Total hip arthroplasty (THA) is one of the most commonly performed and successful operations in orthopedic surgery in terms of clinical outcome, implant survivorship, and cost-effectiveness. The average age for a patient undergoing a THA is 66 years. As life expectancy continues to increase in developed nations and the percentage of the population that is older than 65 years rises, THA surgery will be more frequently performed. This change in demographics is clinically relevant as the indications, risks involved, and outcomes are not identical to those of younger THA candidates. Osteoarthritis is by far the most common diagnosis among patients undergoing primary elective THA. Other common diagnoses include rheumatoid arthritis, other types of inflammatory arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and osteonecrosis of the femoral head. Patients that are candidates for THA have radiographic evidence of hip joint degeneration together with the clinical symptoms of disabling pain and functional limitation despite adequate nonsurgical management. The following article attempts to summarize some of the key issues regarding THA in an older population.
Key words: total hip arthroplasty, osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis, hip fracture, older population.