According to an article by AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione, 2 in every 100 Americans have had a knee or hip replaced, and that number jumps to 5 in 100 over the age of 50 with a new knee.
There are roughly 1 million knee and total hip replacement surgeries performed every year, and a study released recently at an American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons conference in New Orleans claims that there are 7 million Americans living with a replaced knee or hip; this is the first time there’s been an estimate released regarding the number of people living with replacement joints. The results of the study have raised questions regarding how long the joints will last and how to replace them as they wear out.
Arthritis is the main reason we choose to have joints replaced, although according to the article, the term “replacement” is “a little misleading.” What’s actually replaced is the surface of the joint after the cartilage has worn away and caused damage to the joint. The ends of the bone are either removed or resurfaced with plastic, metal, or ceramic materials.
Obesity is the second leading cause of joint damage, and baby-boomers are wearing out joints by playing sports and being involved with other types of exercises.
There are other options to joint replacement, and replacement won’t work in arthritic cases where the joints are not damaged. The other options are exercise, medicine and weight loss, and should be tried first.
Written by: Tricia Doane, FizzNiche Staff Writer