1. Knee Replacement Patients are Getting Younger
Although Knee Replacement surgery has traditionally been thought of as a surgery only undergone by the elderly, recent data shows that the ages of patients undergoing these procedures has reduced drastically. According to a recent study, 41% of all Knee Replacement surgeries were performed on patients younger than 65. The leading factor for this is the desire for the Baby Boomer population to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle without chronic knee pain. (1)
2. Knee Replacement Surgery is Now Performed with Less Invasive Approaches
Traditionally, knee replacement surgery involved a large 8-10 inch incision from the thigh to under the kneecap. However, with the implementation of newer, less invasive knee replacement techniques, with smaller incisions, the procedure does not require as large an amount of dissection of the quadriceps muscle, leaving much of the muscle and the tissue around the knee intact. Patients can now recover more quickly with less pain and have a far shorter hospital stay.
3. Implants Last Far Longer than Before
In the 1970’s the expected duration of the implants used in Knee Replacement Surgery was about 10 years. However, today these implants can last more than 20 years. Improvements in surgical techniques, implant materials, and bearing surface materials with the use of computer guided navigation to result in more accurate implant positioning has resulted in an increase in the durability and longevity of implants. (2)
4. Rehabilitation is Much Shorter than Before
As a result of the advanced techniques (mentioned above) the recovery and rehabilitation profile has been shorted drastically. Rehabilitation begins on the day of surgery and a typical physical therapy session would include toe and heel raises, knee bends, hip rotations, balancing on one leg at a time, step-ups and riding a stationary bicycle at a slow speed. After only 6 weeks of rehab patients see a drastic improvement in the functionality of the knee
5. Knee Replacement Surgery Can Actually Save You Money
A recent study published by health economists projected that Knee Replacement surgery could actually save patients $10,000 – $30,000. This study used the indirect savings of a patients ability to return to work after surgery as the main factor.
“85 percent of indirect savings originated from increased income, through a combination of increased probability of working and higher earnings. The remaining 15 percent of societal savings came from indirect costs such as fewer missed work days and lower disability payments.” (3)
Dr. Nicholas Alexander is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon with over 20 years experience treating disorders of the hip and knee. Dr. Alexander is the founder of Mahwah Valley Orthopedic Associates and specializes in hip and knee replacement surgery. His goal is to return patients back to a healthy and active lifestyle quickly and effectively by utilizing the latest advancements in hip and knee replacement.