After my surgery

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group University of York

How it works

Every year over 70,000 patients in England have a hip replacement, 75,000 have a knee replacement and 70,000 have groin hernia surgery. Many of these patients tell the NHS about how much better they feel after surgery.

This information is collected as part of a national survey that has been running since April 2009. The survey is known as the NHS Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) programme. Patients complete the survey before and several months after surgery.

Because so many patients have completed the survey, we have a good idea of how well surgery works for different people.

Surgery is more effective for some people than for others. Some people recover completely. Other people may feel better after surgery, but still have some health problems. Some say they feel no different than before. And some people may feel worse after surgery than they did before.

We know that how much better people feel after surgery depends on who they are: how old they are, how much pain and discomfort they have because of their health problem, and how long they have had problems with their health.

This website lets you compare yourself to people who are similar to you. You can see how much surgery helped them. This will give you a better idea of what to expect if you decide to have surgery.

We will ask you to answer a number of questions about yourself and your health problem. Your results will then show how 100 patients like you felt six months after their operation, compared to how they felt before. If, for instance, there are 90 green patients, this means that 90 out of 100 patients said they felt noticeably better after surgery (see Box on how we calculate this). In this case, there is a good chance that you will feel better after surgery as well.

You can also see what these patients said about their mobility, ability to take care of themselves, ability to perform their usual activities, their pain and discomfort, and their anxiety a few month after they had their surgery.

You can use this website as often as you like. You may find that you judge your health differently on different days and therefore get slightly different results each time. You can print those results so that you can compare across days.

This website has been developed by a group of researchers at the Centre for Health Economics at the University of York in collaboration with GPs and healthcare commissioners in the Vale of York, and Maraid Design, a York-based design company.

How we calculate improvements

We calculate an overall "health score" by looking across the five dimensions of mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain and discomfort, and anxiety and depression. Larger scores imply better health and fewer problems.

Researchers have established by how much this score needs to improve before patients feel noticeably better. This is called the minimally important difference" (MID).

We compare patients health score before and after surgery:
- If a patient’s health score improves more than the MID, we say that their health is "noticeably better".
- If their score has changed only a bit, we say they are "not different than before".
- Some patients may even feel "noticeably worse" after surgery, although this does not happen very often.