More people are having knee replacement surgery than ever before. While
this is partly due to population growth and a rise in obesity, which puts
added pressure on knee joints, the increase has been most rapid in 45-64
year olds. Within this age group, knee replacements have tripled in the
According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, 90% of people
who have knee replacement surgery experience a lot less pain and most
are able to resume activities they previously had to give up. Osteoarthritis
is the #1 reason for surgery, and as baby boomers stay more active later
in life, arthritis and knee injuries are becoming more common. More active
lifestyles also mean more people are unwilling to let knee pain slow them down.
During knee replacement surgery, a damaged joint is replaced with an artificial
joint. Today’s replacements are more durable and last longer than
those used in the past. Minimally-invasive surgical techniques also make
it possible for patients to recover faster and resume an active life sooner.
How do you decide if the time is right for knee replacement surgery? Ask
yourself the following questions:
- Is joint pain hurting my quality of life? If knee pain interferes with
the things you want or need to do, it may be time to consider knee replacement surgery.
- Have I tried other ways to deal with the pain? Most doctors won’t
recommend surgery until after more conservative measures, such as physical
therapy and anti-inflammatory treatments, have failed.
- Do I have realistic expectations? Most patients can expect to walk, play
golf or ride a bicycle after surgery, but you may not be able to resume
high-impact sports such as running.
Am I in good overall health? No matter what your age, joint replacement
is an option only if you are healthy enough for surgery and the demands