Simultaneous bilateral total hip arthroplasties do not lead to higher complication or allogeneic transfusion rates compared to unilateral procedures

Int Orthop. 2013 Nov;37(11):2125-30. doi: 10.1007/s00264-013-2015-1. Epub 2013 Jul 24.


Purpose: About 20 % of patients undergoing a primary total hip arthroplasty could undergo a second contralateral procedure within five years. The possibility to perform simultaneous bilateral hip replacements instead of two-stage surgery could reduce hospitalisation time and patient management costs, but concerns exist because of risks related to massive blood loss and possible increase in complication rates. The purpose of this study is to assess the veracity of these concerns.

Methods: Parameters like blood loss, transfused blood units, total hospital length of stay (surgical and rehabilitation) and presence of in-hospital complications were collected from surgery reports of two different groups of patients. The first group comprised patients undergoing simultaneous bilateral total hip arthroplasty (n = 63), while the second group consisted of patients undergoing unilateral surgery (n = 97). Occurrence of complications within six post-operative months was assessed by phone interview.

Results: No differences were observed in complication, revision and mortality rates between the study groups. On the contrary, blood loss was significantly higher in the bilateral group, but the application of appropriate transfusion protocols reduced the use of allogeneic blood transfusion to the levels recorded for unilateral patients. Moreover, the difference in length of hospital stay (about two days) between the two groups was not clinically relevant.

Conclusions: Our data show that simultaneous bilateral procedures do not lead to higher complication or allogeneic transfusion rates in comparison to unilateral hip replacement, and that, in cases of bilateral disease, they could significantly reduce the total length of hospital stay and, therefore, patient management costs.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hip / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Management / economics
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*