Medically reviewed by Dr. Rodney Alan McLeod Orthopaedics
The trend toward younger people seeking hip and knee joint replacements is pretty clear. But who are the people seeking them and just how “young” are they? Here’s a brief look at these questions.
The youngest patients to seek hip joint replacement are likely suffering from some type of hip “dysplasia”, essentially a “loose hip joint” that some people are born with. First-born children, girls and babies delivered breech (feet-first) are most likely to have dysplasia.
A few of these people in their 20s or younger will need a new hip joint to fix this problem.
Diseases, such as leukemia, can also cause joints to degenerate, leading to total joint replacement at an early age.
FASTEST GROWING SEGMENT
The most explosive growth among patients seeking hip replacements are people between ages 45 and 54. While joint replacements for people over age 65 grew 54% between 2000 – 2009, they tripled in the younger age group.
“The reasons for this growth are simple.” Says McLeod Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Rodney Alan. “Today’s ‘young mature’ want to stay active. They don’t want to use canes. They don’t want to settle for pain and limited mobility they saw in their grandparents. For many people under 65, the benefits – less pain, more quality of life, ability to stay fit — greatly outweigh the prospect of surgery and rehabilitation.”
Historically, hip joint replacements would last 10 to 15 years before the patient needed a “revision” – or replacement for their joint replacement. If patients were already over 65, the initial hip joint replacement might last their entire lifetime.
New materials and implant designs hold hope for even longer-lasting replacements – even in younger, more active recipients. A 20-year survival rate is not unrealistic. Studies of long-term outcomes have shown more than 90% of the implants still working at 15 to 20 years. One company is even offering a “30-year” knee joint. A similar hip joint replacement can’t be far behind.
FINAL THOUGHT. If pain in your hip or knees is a daily occurrence or limiting your ability to enjoy life, family and work…it’s time to see an Orthopedic Specialist about the range of treatment options available.
To find an Orthopedic Specialist near you, click here.
Sources include: McLeod Health, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, National Institutes of Health, BC Medical Journal, Journal of Canadian Rheumatology, National Center for Health Statistics, Acta Orthpaedica, Canadian Institute for Health Information, International Hop Dysplasia Institute, Arthritis Foundation, American Journal of Orthopaedics, Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality.