Joint Replacement Surgeries on the Rise as Population Ages

Orthopedic surgeon west palm beach

Combine people having been more active over the past 30 years or so, especially in athletics, with the fact that people are living longer, and you have a recipe for an increase in orthopedic procedures. People are experiencing joint pain as they age, both from more use and more injuries, and that is leading more people to have joint replacement surgeries.

Among the most common joint replacement surgeries these days is knee replacement. In just the past decade, the number of knee replacements has almost doubled to 600,000 a year. One of the largest reasons for that high rate is the number of sports injuries that have occurred over the past several decades. Knee injuries are common, including sprains and total and partial ligament tears. Though ACL repair surgery is much better and much less invasive now than it was 20 or 30 years ago, an ACL tear is still a very traumatic injury and ACL repair is still a fairly major surgery. The damage done when an ACL tear very often also includes cartilage damage, and there can be injury to other ligaments as well. All of that damage can eventually lead to arthritis and other complications that lead to the need for knee replacement surgery.

Another common joint replacement surgery is shoulder replacement. About 53,000 people get a shoulder joint replaced each year, providing plenty of work to each orthopedic surgeon who does the procedures. Shoulder injuries are a common sight in sports medicine, with them being the fifth-most-common high school sports injury. But shoulders also can wear down just from repetitive use without any kind of traumatic injury. People who do manual labor jobs for most of their lives can expect to have shoulder problems at some point.

Hip replacements are another common joint replacement surgery, and they are often done on very old patients. There have been more than 2.5 million hip replacement surgeries, and there are about 50 percent more people living with a hip replacement than there are people living with heart failure.

Whatever has happened in your life, whether you have needed ACL reconstruction at some point or you have just led an active life, you are likely at some point to at least consider joint replacement surgery to deal with pain or limited motion. The good news is that such surgeries haven’t gotten less invasive and painful and outcomes have improved.

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