Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Knee and Hip Replacement Surgeries are on the Rise

The surgical techniques required for successful replacement of knee and hip joints (knee and hip arthroplasties) were first developed in the 1950s and ‘60s. The mechanical devices used to replace damaged knees and hips became commercially available in the 1970s. Today, over a million total hip and knee replacements are performed in the United States every year, according to the National Hospital Discharge Survey of the CDC. There’s even a specialist group of surgeons who focus primarily on these two surgeries (the American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeons).

Why are these two surgeries becoming so commonplace? For one, the surgeries are highly successful at eliminating the pain associated with hip and knee osteoarthritis. They’re also fairly low-risk. People are living longer and want to maintain their mobility as long as possible. And last but probably not least, the rate of obesity continues to rise in this country. Obesity places an extra burden on knee and hip joints, increasing the risk of the development of knee and hip osteoarthritis.

The number of knee and hip arthroplasties is expected to top 4 million per year by 2030. The American Association of Knee and Hip Surgeons is going to need a lot of new members by then….

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