What Is Joint Replacement and Why Has There Been an Increase in Surgeries?

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Joint replacement surgeries were traditionally reserved for the elderly, but they’re becoming increasingly common among younger patients. What accounts for the sudden rise? 

Many people assume that joint replacement surgery is only for the elderly, but in fact, an increasing number of younger patients have begun to opt for the procedure in recent years. A 2014 study, for example, found a 123% increase in hip replacements and a 188% increase in knee replacements among patients aged 45 to 64 between 2000 and 2009. In contrast, there was only a 54% increase in hip replacements and an 89% increase in knee replacements during the same period for patients aged 65 to 84.

Despite their growing popularity, joint replacement surgeries are a moderately complex orthopedic procedure, and should only be undertaken after careful deliberation. If you’re considering replacing a joint, we’ll share a few important details about the procedure to help you make an informed decision (and ensure a complete recovery, should you opt in).

WHAT IS JOINT REPLACEMENT SURGERY?

Joint replacement surgery can be used to treat degenerative conditions in any joint, but it’s most commonly performed on the knees and hips. While its specifics vary based on the joint and the injury in question, the procedure usually consists of removing damaged parts of the joint and replacing them with an artificial prosthesis. It’s most often used to treat arthritis and the symptoms associated with it, but it can effectively address any joint degeneration caused by repetitive stress and strain.

WHY SHOULD I UNDERGO IT?

Joint replacement surgery is ideal for individuals with active lifestyles. Those who participate in strenuous physical activities such as jogging or tennis, which can gradually erode the cartilage in the joints, may be particularly well-suited for joint replacement surgery. Instead of changing their lifestyles, many opt for surgery so that they can continue to enjoy these pastimes.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

Joint replacement surgery has become more and more sophisticated in recent years, with most patients experiencing few complications. While recovery timelines depend on the extent of the replacement, most patients regain a complete range of motion within several months. Younger patients enjoy an even lower risk of complications and a faster healing period.

There are some costs to undergoing joint replacement surgery when young, especially if you continue to lead an active lifestyle. Just like the original joint, the prosthesis will gradually wear out over time. In most cases, however, a replaced joint will last for as long as fifteen to twenty years, providing a long-term solution to an otherwise debilitating problem.

If you’re interested in pursuing joint replacement surgery, the talented team of specialists at New York Bone and Joint will guide you every step of the way with their knowledgeable and compassionate approach. Led by Dr. Rupesh Tarwala, we can help you at every stage of the process, from determining your candidacy for joint replacement to preparing for the procedure itself. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation!

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