Type of Surgery
Last updated: 11/24/2009
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), there are about 270,000 knee replacement operations performed each year in the United States. Although about 70% of these operations are performed in people over the age of 65, a growing...
number of knee replacements are being done in younger patients. A Canadian survey released in January 2003 stated that the number of knee replacements performed in patients younger than 55 rose 90% between 1994 and 2001. Most surgeons expect to see the proportion of knee arthroplasties performed in younger patients continue to rise. One reason for this trend is improvements in surgical technique, as well as the design and construction of knee prostheses since the first knee replacement was performed in 1968. Although most knee prostheses are still cemented in place as of 2003, cementless prostheses were introduced in the 1980s. A second reason is people's changing attitudes toward aging and their expectations of an active life after retirement. Fewer are willing to endure years of discomfort or resign themselves to a restricted level of activity.
In terms of gender and racial differences, women are slightly more likely to seek knee replacement surgery than men, and Caucasians in the United States are more likely to have the operation than African Americans. Researchers have suggested that one reason for the racial difference is a difference in social networks. People in general are influenced in their health care decisions by the experiences and opinions of friends or family members, and Caucasians are more likely than African Americans to know someone who has had knee replacement surgery.
The knee is a common site of pain in athletes because of the tremendous forces that it must endure. There are various parts to a knee such the tendon, bursa, and meniscus. Injury to these knee joint structures can cause pain.
Knee replacement, or knee arthroplasty, is a common surgical procedure most often performed to relieve the pain and disability from degenerative arthritis, most commonly osteoarthritis, but other arthritides as well. Major causes of debilitating pain include meniscus tears, osteoarthritis, cartilage defects, and ligament tears.
Knee replacement surgery can be performed as a partial or a total knee replacement. In general, the surgery consists of replacing the diseased or damaged joint surfaces of the knee with metal and plastic components shaped to allow continued motion of the knee.
New procedures like minimally invasive procedures are often subject to scrutiny, but I think that one of the biggest problems facing these innovative procedures is for people to understand exactly what we do.
-Dr. Michael Perry, Laser Spine institute
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