Knee replacement statistics, compiled by the CDC indicated there were 719,000 knee replacement surgeries done in the US in 2010.
There was an overall 22% increase in the number of men getting the surgery, and an 84% increase in women having the surgery from 1997 to 2009.
But for the younger age group of 45-54, there was a 144% increase among men and a 157% increase among women during the time period of 1997 -2009.
Ok so I can only take so many statistics, what’s the big deal?
This explosive growth is not explained by population growth or obesity rates and is in my opinion most likely due to the excellent results and widespread acceptance of the surgery. (I recently posted about the low complication and readmissions over a 12 year period. If you would like to review those statistics-go here.
Overall people see the surgery as a safe and effective way to get rid of the pain in their knee and move forward with their life.
So all is well in the kingdom right?
Well not exactly. The perfect storm is coming. The projected number of knee replacement surgeries for 2030 is a staggering 3.48 million, an increase of 673%.
Joshua J. Jacobs, MD, associate chairman and professor of orthopaedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and chair of the AAOS Council on Research, Quality Assessment and Technology stated that…
“If joint replacement surgeries increase as the authors projected, it will burden an already financially challenged health care system. We’re on a collision course between the demands placed by the Medicare population for services – joint replacement being a major one – and the ability of our society to pay for them.”
In preparation for this blog, I routinely examine new research studies related to knee replacements. To my dismay, I see an overwhelming number dealing with correlation methodology and outcomes, meaning that people with such and such a characteristic have better or worse outcomes.
Get ready gang, “they” are creating the rubric for denial, make no mistake. They’ll have the numbers to justify the denials and we are spending millions to get them right now.
For example of a recent study of this type of research Go Here
The study is entitled “Predictors of outcomes of total knee replacement surgery” published in Rheumatology in 2012. There are plenty others, but this will give you an idea of what is out there.
So how does this affect you? I think every wise person should consider how macro-trends affect personal decision-making.
And while I am no “seer”, it is pretty simple to conclude that the money and opportunity will not last forever.
Questions you might want to ask yourself…to promote independence
If you haven’t had a knee replacement yet
….have you lost that extra weight grinding your joints every day?
…can you cross train or forgo aggressive pounding exercises that might put you at more risk?
If you have had an early knee replacement (age 45-54)
…have you lost that weight that you promised you would?
…are you being too aggressive and doing things that might make the joint wear faster?
While knee replacement is a great surgery, not having to have the surgery in the first
place is even better.
If you already have a knee replacement, not having to have a revision is even better.
Cowboy Up- no one cares more for your own health than you do! Stay responsible and
in as much control of your own health as possible. Trust me there is no way we will be doing 3.48 million replacements in 2030.
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