(HealthDay News) — Many people who’ve had hip replacement surgery might safely be able to drive as soon as two weeks after the procedure, a new small study finds. The findings were scheduled for presentation Tuesday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), held from March 24–28 in Las Vegas. The study was also published online November 2014 in The Journal of Arthroplasty.

The new research included 38 people who underwent total hip replacement between 2013–2014. Their brake reaction time was tested before and after their procedure.

The results showed that 87% of the patients regained their presurgery brake reaction times within two weeks after surgery, and the other 13% reached that point within four weeks after surgery. There were no differences in terms of age, gender, or the use of assistance devices.

“We found that brake reaction time returned to baseline or better in the vast majority of patients undergoing contemporary total hip replacement by two weeks following surgery,” study author and orthopedic surgeon Victor Hugo Hernandez, MD, said in an AAOS news release. The “findings have allowed us to encourage patients to re-evaluate their driving ability as soon as two weeks after,” total hip replacement, he added. However, Hernandez noted that the findings are based on this particular group of patients, and caution is needed in translating the results to the general population. Also, patients should never drive if they are still taking narcotic pain medications, he warned.

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