Knee replacement surgery is the 14th most common surgery in the U.S. today–and about 5 percent of American women over 50 have had at least one of their knees replaced. But knee (and hip) implants aren’t always successful, and nearly 4 percent of patients have to undergo a second surgery 18 months later because of complications from the first operation. That number rises to 6 percent after five years–and to a whopping 12 percent after ten.
Now a new study has shed some light on the role depression plays in that risk of revision surgeries for both knees and hips. After looking at the records of more than 20,000 surgeries over several years, researchers from the Mayo Clinic noticed that those patients taking SSRIs like Prozac or sertraline (Zoloft) for their depression and anxiety had cut their risk of a second operation by 60 percent.
Researchers don’t fully understand the reason why antidepressants have such an impact on knee replacement surgery. It could be that patients taking SSRIs are managing their depression so they can lead healthier lives. Or it could be some beneficial biological side effect from antidepressants that cuts the risk for follow-up surgery.
So if you are taking an SSRI and facing knee replacement surgery, talk to your doctor about the possible risks and benefits of your medications.