Is there an ideal age to undergo a knee replacement procedure? According to a recent study, people of all ages can reap the benefits of this popular surgery.
Even patients in their 90s can achieve great outcomes from undergoing a knee replacement, despite the increased risks of general medical complications. Here, we look at what the recent study found, the rise in younger patients undergoing the procedure, and how long knee replacements typically last.
What did the recent study find?
The recent study, carried out by researchers in California, aimed to assess the risks of carrying out a knee replacement surgery on patients aged 90 and over. Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, results of the study showed there were no increased risks of surgical complications when the procedure was carried out on elderly patients.
The study followed 58 patients over the age of 90 who had undergone a total knee replacement. They were matched with patients aged 80-84, and 70-74. Both medical and orthopaedic complications were recorded.
While patients aged 90 and over were found to have a higher rate of medical complications, surgical complications remained practically the same across all age groups. Most of the medical complications that occurred in older patients were minor.
The rise in knee replacements in younger patients
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of younger patients undergoing knee replacement surgery. This is likely due to a combination of factors, including the increasing prevalence of obesity and a more active lifestyle among younger populations, which can lead to wear and tear on the joints.
Additionally, advancements in surgical techniques, in particularly the introduction of robotic assisted knee replacement, and the development of more durable and long-lasting implant materials have made the procedure more viable for younger patients. However, it’s important to note that knee replacement surgery is still primarily recommended for older adults with severe pain and disability caused by advanced osteoarthritis, and younger patients should discuss the potential benefits and risks of the procedure with their knee surgeon before deciding if it’s right for them.
One option for younger patient is to try and delay a knee replacement. An exciting approach to alleviating the pain and discomfort associated with knee arthritis is MBST. MBST or Molecular Biophysical Stimulation Therapy uses magnetic resonance imaging technology to stimulate cells and encourage healing.
How long does a knee replacement last?
The lifespan of a knee replacement can vary depending on several factors, including the patient’s age, weight, activity level, and overall health. A recent UK study found that approximately 82% of total knee replacements last 25 years and 70% of partial knee replacements last 25 years.
Factors that can shorten the lifespan of a knee replacement include being overweight or obese, having a high-demand lifestyle, an infection, and revision surgery.
It’s important to note that a knee replacement is a major surgery and not a cure-all solution. It will help to alleviate pain and improve mobility, but it may not fully restore the function of a natural knee. If you are considering a knee replacement, book a consultation with Mr Jonathan Webb today to determine the best course of treatment.