Staying Mobile Later in Life – Is Knee Replacement Surgery a Good Option?
Knee pain keeps many Americans from doing the activities they love and almost half of all adults develop knee osteoarthritis, or the degeneration of joints and bone in at least one knee, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With so many people experiencing knee pain in the U.S., how can you tell if you need to consider total knee replacement surgery? Those who experience long-term, consistent pain should make an appointment to consult with their primary care physician.
Knee replacement surgery offers many benefits. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports more than 600,000 knee replacements are performed each year in the United States and one study estimates total knee replacement surgeries to grow 673 percent by 2030.
The surgery not only relieves pain, but improves mobility in the knee joint. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), more than 90 percent of knee replacement recipients experience dramatic pain reduction, increased movement and a better quality of life. However, not everyone with knee pain is a candidate for replacement surgery.
If you are experiencing some or all of the below symptoms, you could be a candidate for knee replacement surgery:
- Your pain interferes with daily life. A prime candidate for knee replacement experiences knee pain during simple daily activities such as walking.
- You have limited function and mobility. Knee stiffness makes it difficult to sit and bend at the knee, making it hard to get around and stay mobile.
- You have tried other pain relief methods. Knee replacement should not be considered until other prescribed methods to relieve pain have been exhausted, including weight loss, medication and physical therapy.
- You are between 55 and 70 years of age. Surgeons tend to recommend knee replacement surgery most often within this age bracket because younger patients tend to wear out their knee replacements sooner. Over time, the replacement will wear down so those who receive surgery earlier in life have a higher likelihood of needing a replacement surgery in the future.
- You have advanced joint disorders. Patients with advanced joint conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis are good candidates for knee replacement surgery.
The decision to undergo knee replacement surgery can only be made by you, your physician and your surgeon. As with any surgery, it is important to consider the rehabilitation and physical therapy that goes along with recovery. Before recommending surgery, your physician will perform a thorough assessment or your current health and medical history to determine if knee replacement surgery is the right option for you.