Americans are replacing their joints at a record pace of more than one million people a year. With Baby Boomers dedicated to staying active as long as possible, the number of joint replacement surgeries – especially hip and knee replacements – in expected to quadruple to 4 million in less than 20 years.
As more and more research has been conducted on joint replacement, surgeons are learning more and more about what works and doesn’t in joint replacement, including a better method of evaluation of candidates.
At the same time, surgeons are encountering more and more misconceptions about joint replacement from their patients. One of the most common is that a joint replacement will help them become more active or lose weight.
While many people who get joint replacements hope they’ll be able to be more active with less pain and greater range of motion, there’s no guarantee they will lead to better fitness or weight loss. Research of studies that measured weight loss in patients after surgery found that more patients had gained weight after surgery than lost.
Another misconception is the joint replacements are a one-time solution to a chronic problem. But most implants only last around 15 years, which means more active, aging adults will probably face two surgeries in their lifetime.
Scientists around the world are looking for better types of metal for implants, including those made to more easily bend and bond with bone. Others are looking at cartilage and bone-growing techniques that might one day replace metal and plastic with lab grown tissue from our own stem cells.
Advances aside, total joint replacement may become harder to come by as employers and insurers try to set parameters of medical need for this and other elective surgeries in the future.
At VOSS, our orthopaedic surgeons are highly trained in total joint replacement with years of experience and knowledge of the latest techniques. To learn more about your surgical options contact us today at 757.215.3789.