New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer reports that his patients are getting joint replacement surgery at an earlier age than ever before. This is not happening because the need is greater, but because the technology has improved so much.
In the past, he wouldn’t see patients opting for hip and knee replacement surgery until they were in their mid to late 60s. They were choosing to get the surgery so they could keep walking instead of using a wheelchair.
Now, patients are coming to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon in their 50s to get relief from arthritis and return to their active lives. About 750,000 knee replacement surgeries and 550,000 hip replacement procedures are performed across the country each year. In fact, they are the most popular elective surgeries performed.
Both surgeries have been performed for over 50 years and the technology just keeps advancing. But there are limitations that patients considering this type of surgery should be aware of.
The hip is a ball and socket joint, a fairly simple conception when it comes to replacement surgery. The parts used are metal, with a ceramic ball and cup, and part of the lining is made of plastic. According to your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon, the plastic is the part that will wear out – it is the wearable part.
The knee is complex – it acts as a flexible hinge by bending, rotating and moving from side to side. So there are metal cups for the thigh and the shin that are protected with plastic. It is really not a good idea to think you can put intense strain on that replacement joint because it will wear out.
In theory, a knee replacement should last about 50 years, but it is not as good as a real knee in terms of flexibility. Thanks to newer technology, partial knee replacements are now being performed.
Your New Orleans orthopedic surgeon says that if appropriate, it is a better method for knee flexibility, offering better movement because part of the knee is retained. These include parts of the original sensors, nerves, ligaments and tendons that will perform better than artificial parts. This type of surgery has a much better chance of allowing a person to return to their former physical activities.
As technology continues to improve, additional possibilities for a more natural joint replacement may be on the horizon. In the meantime, patients should not view joint replacement surgery as the solution to their lifestyle problems.
If you are considering joint replacement surgery and want to discuss your options, call the office of New Orleans orthopedic surgeon Dr. Richard Meyer today to schedule a consultation.