The importance of expectations has been assessed by giving 88 patients who had undergone total hip replacement surgery a series of visual analogue scales to provide a pain score, a 5-point rating scale to assess their remembered expectations, and an interview to establish clinical, functional, social, and psychological data. Patients generally had high expectations, but only 55% had their expectations fulfilled. Despite this, 86% claimed the operation to be successful, though when questioned more closely patients noted a certain amount of displeasure about the outcome. Further analysis revealed that, when the sample was split into 2 groups of fulfilled and unfulfilled expectations, significant differences were noted in that the quality of life enjoyed by the former group was greater than that enjoyed by the latter group. This finding suggests that the notion of 'success' is not as effective as the notion of 'expectations' as a measure of the outcome of total hip replacement surgery.
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