Need a knee or hip replacement? Get in line.
Knee replacement surgeries nearly doubled across the country between 2000 and 2010 to almost 720,000 operations, and hip replacements rose even more to 330,000 procedures, according to the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Hip and knee joint replacements have become more common; our numbers of surgeries have increased over the years, likely due to our increasing age in our population.. Obesity can play a role in this, putting more wear and tear on our joints. Patients are more active for longer, and activity can also lead to wear and tear arthritis,” said Corpus Christi Medical Center Dr. Delia Quisenberry.
That upward trend is expected to continue with the aging population going under the knife.
“Before a patient goes into surgery, they should get as much education as they can. They should find a surgeon, they should see if their surgeon does robotic-assisted surgery, which sometimes can decrease healing time and pain levels. They should look for a hospital they would like to have surgery in. Mistakes patients make before surgery are not listening to their physician recommendations. Other mistakes are not checking with their insurance company to see what kind of co-pays they have associated with their surgery,” said Quisenberry.
Less than half of people getting their knees or hips replaced are 45 to 64, with the majority over 65.
“It is important that if you are having any symptoms of joint pain that you see your physician. Possibly you are a candidate for surgery. It is better to get this surgery done before you go through years of pain. The surgery is usually less complicated as well if you catch it before it gets too advanced,” said Quisenberry.
This translates to thousands and thousands of operations a year.
“When choosing a hospital, it is very important to do your research. For instance, Corpus Christi Medical Center is a leader in this community. It is the first to be accredited by the joint commission, meaning we have higher standards of care for all of our hip and knee joint replacements,” said Quisenberry.
To find out if a new joint is right for you, weigh the pros and cons of surgery and think carefully about the rehab you’ll need to do when the operation is over.
The most important factor in choosing to have a knee or hip replaced is how much it hurts and how much it is affecting your life. Here are six signals that it’s time to have a knee or hip replaced:
- You can no longer complete routine daily tasks without help.
- You have significant pain, like pain that keeps you awake at night despite the use of medications, pain that keeps you from being able to walk or bend over, pain that isn’t relieved by rest, or pain that isn’t helped by non-surgical approaches.
- Your doctor says that less-complicated surgical procedures are unlikely to help.
- You have osteoarthritis and feel the disease is wearing you down physically, emotionally, and mentally.
- You are suffering severe side effects from the medications for your painful knee or hip.
- Tests show advanced arthritis or significant joint damage.