By Jeff Hansel

jhansel@postbulletin.com

Mayo Clinic has received high praise from a former president who underwent successful hip-replacement surgery.

Switching hip joints with spare parts has become so commonplace that news of former President George H.W. Bush’s operation at Mayo in January was eclipsed by stories about the separation of conjoined twins Abygail and Madysen Fitterer, who had their surgery on the same day as his.

Mayo performs thousands of hip replacements each year. More than 35,000 have been completed at Mayo since 1969, when the clinic performed the first hip replacement in the United States following Food and Drug Administration approval, said clinic spokesman Adam Brase.

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Bush, 82, got his second new hip joint Jan. 3, and was sent home Jan. 6. That type of discharge from the hospital within a few days is typical for most of the 193,000 people who have the procedure annually, according to one federal estimate.

In e-mailed responses to questions from the Post-Bulletin, the former president recently praised his health providers, saying his advice to a neighbor or family member thinking about hip replacement would be "to consider Mayo Clinic."

A "large team" of health providers worked with the President, Brase said. Many had also participated when he had his first hip operation several years ago.

"Much progress has been made nationwide on hip replacements," Bush said. "But I have total confidence in Dr. (Bernard) Morrey & Co. at Mayo."

His wife, Barbara Bush, who for many years served on Mayo’s Board of Trustees, came to Rochester herself for hip replacement at Mayo in 1997. The former president said that’s one reason he picked the clinic for his surgery.

Another, he said, is that "other Presidents have been well satisfied by Mayo and its expertise."

At least five presidents have been treated there, including Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan and Ford.

In addition, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., had a hip replacement at Mayo during her campaign last summer.