These days, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear from some of your more “mature” friends that they’ve had a knee or hip joint replacement. Truth is: What, in the past was a procedure for people aged 65+, is now being performed on people as young as 40. McLeod Orthopedic Specialist Michael Sutton, DO, points out two reasons for this change:
Here are highlights of his comments:
First, in our office, we are seeing younger people, whose knees and hips have worn out sooner than in the past. I think there’s a more active lifestyle that is the reason for this. The younger people today or even some older people want to stay active.
They do not want a brace, which is limiting. They also do not want to take medication forever, because of potential side effects. In the past, surgeries were designed to immobilize a joint in much the same way an external brace works. It takes away the pain but people want to move. They want to move the joint– to play tennis, to walk and to swim. Recreation is important to them. They don’t want the sedentary lifestyle they saw older generations settle into.
Second, Improvements in materials and design have made joint replacements much more available to the younger population.
When I first began medical training in 1983, a knee replacement or hip joint replacement would last roughly 12-15 years. So, we did reserve joint replacements for older people, because a person’s life expectancy was roughly 75. If they received a joint replacement at 65, it was likely to last them the rest of their life.
Since that time, there have been a lot of changes Implants both knees and hips. We have implants that are expected to last much longer at 20-25 years. Companies have improved the quality of the implants.
So, we are performing joint replacements on younger people for those 2 reasons: 1) people are not accepting the limited lifestyle that former treatments offered and 2) more importantly, the implants have become that much better today.
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