Join replacement stats are all over the Internet: Google it and you’ll find numbers like these: 680,000 knee replacement surgeries were performed last year.
Forest Park Medical Center of Southlake orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nathan Williams has seen the growth first hand.
“Yeah, it’s a surprising number and there are almost 380,000 total hips. If you look at both combined it’s almost 900,000 a year and that number is expected to increase over the next 15 years.
And there are questions–including why? Dr. Williams said age and injuries play a big role but there is also this: younger people are having hip and knee replacement surgeries.
“I’m seeing a larger number of patients going through replacements who are still employed,” Dr. Williams said. “That’s usually patients in their mid to late 50′s and so a lot of times its work demands as well.”
Dr. Williams said many patients simply get tired of injection therapies and pain medications before they finally decide to take the next step.
“Usually they reach a line in the sand and that’s nice because I really don’t have to talk them into it,” Dr. Williams said. “I just have to show them what their options are and they always come around to the decision.”
Dr. Williams said minimally invasive surgical techniques now allow patients to heal faster and high tech hips and knees are lasting longer and changing lives like never before.
“It’s a huge quality of life improvement for a number of patients,” Dr. Williams said. “It’s very rewarding to be involved with both as a surgeon and to see the patients improve.”
Dr. Williams said high impact activities like jogging is probably not a good idea but for walking, skiing, swimming, golfing –or simply playing with the grandkids–hip and knee replacement now has a leg up.
“These are really the reasons we’re doing these surgeries now, not to tell people they can’t do this but to encourage them,” Dr. Williams said. “This is going to allow you to do that so much better.”