The number of joint-replacement surgeries performed each year continues to rise. It may come as a surprise to learn that many of these new surgeries are being performed on younger patients. Studies performed by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons revealed that the average hip-replacement recipient is age 65 vs. 66. Knee-replacement recipients saw a decline of 2 years in the average patient’s age from 68 to 66. We’ll explore these changes and how a year or two means more than you might think.
While these changes may seem minor on the surface, they indicate a significant change in patient ages. Those of ages 45 to 64 saw a 123% increase in hip replacements and a 188% increase in knee replacements. This increase happened over nine years from 2000 to 2009. Further, the research has shown that the number of younger patients getting these replacements continues to rise. These changes indicate that patients are demonstrating a great degree of confidence in surgical solutions for joint-related problems.
Along with increased patient confidence, there has been a marked improvement in the implants’ quality during these procedures. The latest innovations in plastic technology have improved the longevity of these replacements. This allows them to survive the degree of activity these younger patients engage in. Many patients seeking treatment are eager to get back to athletic activities that keep them healthier as they age.
Most modern hip replacements show longevity in the 15-20 year range. While this is an incredible improvement over previous versions of these replacements, it does pose some concern. Younger patients are eager to get back to their active lifestyles. Their drive to remain active tends to result in greater average longevity for these patients. As they age and medical technology advances, this may account for two or even three more joint replacements being necessary for their lifetime.
There are ways to make these replacement joints last longer, however. It involves reducing the amount of high-impact activities you engage in. Some options include:
This isn’t to say that receiving a joint replacement at a young age is all bad news. One thing that younger patients have going for them is a reduced instance of complications. Patients in the 45-64 range experience fewer pre and post-surgical complications than their older counterparts. Further, these individuals tend to be released from the hospital on the day of the surgery.
Every year improvements are being made in joint replacement surgery. Modern techniques tend to use minimally-invasive procedures to accomplish the treatment. This results in less damage to tissue and faster recovery times. Combined with the ongoing improvement in replacement joints, this can spell a long and active future for recipients. Want to know more about joint replacement options and whether they’re right for you, reach out to your orthopedic specialist today!