According to New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer, more than 2 out of every 100 Americans now live with an artificial joint. And among those over 50 years of age, it’s even more common, with 5 percent of that group having had a knee replacement and more than 2 percent, a hip replacement.
This means that approximately 7 million people in the country have had a total hip or knee replacement. Over half a million knees and around 400,000 hips are replaced in this country each year.
So why the increase?
Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon finds that people are becoming more and more aware that the replacements have been successful, so they are less willing to put up with painful joints than they were in the past.
The term “replacement” can be a little misleading, however, because what’s actually replaced is the surface of a joint after the cartilage has worn away, leaving bone rubbing against bone. This results in pain and reduced mobility.
In a replacement operation, the ends of bones are removed (or resurfaced) and replaced with plastic, ceramic or metal materials.
The main reasons for these joint replacements have been arthritis and obesity. On the other side of the coin, many people are wearing out joints by engaging in sports or other activities to fight off obesity.
Case in point: Knee replacement surgeries have more than tripled in the 45-to-64 age group over the last decade and nearly half of hip replacements now are in people under 65.
But your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon warns that joint replacement surgery is not for anybody who has pain in the joint. Surgery won’t relieve the pain and stiffness associated with arthritis if the joints are not damaged. Surgery also is not recommended for those who haven’t tried exercise, medicines and weight loss first.
But for a growing number of people, joint replacement surgery can result in a big improvement in quality of life.
To help a joint replacement procedure succeed (and last), New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer recommends physical therapy to strengthen his patients’ bones, muscles and new joints.
If you’d like more information regarding joint replacement surgery, call our office today to schedule an appointment.