Entries in Knee Replacement (3)


Study: Lower-Income Earners May Fare Better after Knee Replacement Surgery

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- U.S. researchers say that people who earn $35,000 or less annually may have better outcomes after knee replacement surgery than those who earn more money, Health Day reports.

The findings are based on data collected over the past few decades from patients who had knee replacements at the Mayo Clinic. Researchers discovered that patients who earned lower incomes reported less pain and better knee function at their two-year checkup than their higher-earning counterparts, Health Day says.

The study's author said the findings runs counter to what many expected to see and more work must be done to understand it further. One possible explanation, he said, could be that lower-income patients wait as long as possible to get surgery and therefore experience a more dramatic feeling of improvement, according to Health Day.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Knee Replacements Double in 10 Years, Study Says

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- More Americans are getting total knee replacements than ever before, according to the first national estimate of the procedure’s frequency. In 2009 alone, the number of surgeries topped 600,000, twice the number of procedures of the past decade.

The numbers, presented Friday at a meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, are higher than expected – 4.5 million Americans currently live with total knee replacement in at least one knee, which is nearly 5 percent of the population age 50 and older. More than 5 percent of women older than 50 have had the procedure, compared with 4 percent of older men.

Knee replacements become more common with age, when the pain and discomfort of arthritis become more disabling for many people. According to the study, nearly 10 percent of Americans age 80 and older have had at least one knee replaced. Still, Dr. Elena Losina, the study’s senior author, said the rising numbers of knee replacement surgeries are coming from people in their 50s and 60s.

“The demographics of this procedure are changing. More and more younger people are undergoing the procedure,” Losina said.

As baby boomers age combined with the epidemic of obesity, the number of knees that wear out have grown. But Losina said those factors account for only about a quarter of the number of knee replacement surgeries. Instead, a growing number of knee injuries in middle-aged adults can lead to the early development of arthritis.

“It’s likely happening to people who are active and don’t want to be bothered by knee pain,” she said.

Advances in technology and improvements in surgical techniques have made the surgery more successful in recent years, although patients run the risk of infections and scar tissue development after the surgery. The procedure requires several days in the hospital, weeks of rehabilitation and costs about $40,000.

Currently, artificial knees, made out of metal and plastic, can last up to 20 years. But patients who get knees replaced at younger ages will probably need a revision surgery as they age and their new joint wears out.

“On average, we take 1 [million] to 2 million steps per year. That’s a lot of back and forth on that hinge. And patients who are younger and active can put significant force on that,” said Dr. Jason Koh, vice chairman of orthopedic surgery at the North Shore University Health System in Chicago. “But in terms of the value that you get from the surgery in terms of improvement in quality of life, this is one of the best ways we can use our health care dollars.”

According to the AAOS, 90 percent of people who have a total knee replacement will experience a dramatic reduction in pain and discomfort.

Losina said it’s likely that people who have a knee replacement at age 50 will need another one when they reach age 70 or 75.

“But the improvement in quality of life that we see with these procedures may way outweigh the potential for the need for another surgery down the road,” she said.

Losina said scientists need to do more research on the long-term outcomes of the procedures.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Surge in Total Knee Replacements for Boomer Women

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PHILADELPHIA) -- Gone are the days of 50-something women who define their new decade by staying home and joining a book club or two. These women are more likely to be found moving and shaking at the gym, on the dance floor or trekking on some adventure abroad.

The baby boomer generation has truly coined 50 as the new 30. The generation is the most active of any other in the same age group has ever been. But unfortunately, their joints haven't caught on to their mantra.

Active lifestyles mean achy joints, which have led baby boomers to become the fastest-growing group to undergo total knee replacements.

Knee replacement surgeries have doubled over the past decade, and more than tripled in the women between the ages of 45 and 64.

Women seem to be more affected than men. In 2009, nearly 63 percent of women underwent total knee replacement surgery, most of whom were between ages of 40 and 80, according to Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Nearly 37 percent of men, mostly within the same age group, underwent total knee replacement surgery in 2009.

Dr. Nick DiNubile, clinical assistant professor in the department of orthopedic surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, said just a decade ago most of his patients needing knee replacements were age 70 or older. But now, a majority of his patients are much younger.

Medications are the first line treatment for knee joints that are seriously damaged by arthritis or injury. But when it becomes difficult to walk or climb stairs, and the pain is unbearable both during activity and at rest, some specialists may suggest surgery.

Many women overuse their joints and wait longer to go to the doctor, which could be leading to the spike in surgeries, DiNubile said.

During the procedure, surgeons remove the damaged cartilage surrounding the knee along with parts of the underlying bone. They are replaced by metal that's fit into the bone and a spacer is fit in between to the bone's surface to create a gliding surface. But surgery is no quick fix.

More than 90 percent of people who undergo total knee replacement experience a dramatic reduction in pain, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.

But it's difficult to return to the strenuous physical activities. Like other artificial implants, the plastic spacers can wear with daily use, and overuse, and putting a lot of weight on the knee can speed up that process.

Most surgeons advise against high-impact activities, such as running, jogging, jumping, and high-impact sports for the rest of one's life after surgery.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio