My 89-year old grandma just had a total hip replacement. I love my grandma, but with all the incredible health care costs in this country, why do they do these expensive operations on old people?
More and more older and even sicker adults are having surgery and other procedures of this type. Advances in the medical field have made it possible to give an 89-year old a new hip. Longer life expectancy and desire for improved quality of life are two reasons this happens.

Studies show that sick and frail adults do very well after joint replacement. Sometimes being able to get up and move about again without pain gives them a renewed lease on life. The risk of life-threatening complications in this age group such as pneumonia or urinary tract infections goes down when they can move around and especially if they can walk again.

With the new minimally invasive orthopedic operations, there's less blood loss, less pain, and faster recovery. Some people are in and out of the hospital in 23 hours but most stay two to four days.

Problems can still occur with early discharge. If you are in the same area with your grandmother, you can be a big part of helping reduce the cost of post-operative care. Check in with her as often as you can. If her doctor has approved walking and activities, encourage her to walk with you. Report any suspicious symptoms right away. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent some problems from getting worse.