Once reserved for older patients with severe arthritis, total knee replacement surgery is becoming more common in younger, active people. Today, this surgery may be considered for patients in their 40s or 50s with severe knee arthritis that is not relieved with simpler, non-surgical treatments. There are concerns, however, about performing this procedure on such young patients.
Why young age arthritis is increasing?
Last few years patients in the age group of 40’s &50’s are suffering from early arthritis of the knee due to lifestyle changes and lack of exercise and improper diet. Some diseases especially Rheumatoid arthritis may lead to early arthritis of joints also.
How Young Is Too Young?
No one can say for sure if patients of a certain age are too young for total knee replacement, or what age marks the turning point. What we do know is that the benefits in some younger patients may outweigh the risks of surgery.
These benefits primarily include:
- Better quality of life.
- Reduced pain.
- Ability to maintain or improve fitness.
- When these goals are met, patients may also have a reduced risk of developing other problems associated with poor fitness, such as cardiovascular disease.
The primary concern of total knee replacement in younger patients is the possibility of wearing out the implant since it will be in place for many years and may need revision surgery in older age. Implant manufacturers are working to reduce this problem, but it’s still a small concern for patients. But the benefits of being pain-free in 40/50’s are more important as a disability at a young age is troubling.
Young age is a more productive age and needs an active lifestyle.
A patient’s level of activity seems to be related to the amount of wear to a knee joint replacement. This is why young patients with joint replacements should be cautious and perform suggested low-impact activities, like the ones below:
- Low-impact aerobics
- Walking and hiking
- Low-resistance weightlifting
People with knee replacements should avoid high-impact activities, including:
- Singles tennis
- Rock climbing
These lists are meant to give you an idea about what to expect if you have knee replacement surgery.
Currently, the average age of a patient who gets knee replacement surgery in India is around 65 years old. Generally, surgeons consider anyone under the age of 50 to be young for knee replacement. Still, patients under 50 are the fastest-growing group of people who have knee replacement surgery.
Studies show these surgeries work well. More than 85% of patients under 50 who have knee replacement consider their results to be good. The complication rate is also low. More than 98% of the knee replacements placed in these patients were still functioning 10 years after surgery.
Knee Replacement Surgery:
As with any surgical procedure, knee replacement surgery has risks. The primary concern in younger, more active patients is that the implant will wear out early and may need revision surgery which is equally successful these days with the latest advances in surgical skills and implants.
Knee replacement has traditionally been done in older people. Today, there is growing evidence that people below the age of 50 can also benefit from total knee replacement.
Knee replacement surgery in younger people does have some risks.
Most people who have had a knee replacement, however, can resume an active lifestyle, as long as they choose lower-impact activities.
Knee replacement surgery is a major surgical procedure. As such, it has some serious potential risks. Anyone considering this procedure, regardless of age, should try nonsurgical treatments, before undergoing a knee replacement.
If other treatments don’t work, a knee replacement can be an effective way to maintain both physical and mental health in a young patient with severe arthritis. Knee replacement surgery can offer pain relief and improved function. Younger patients are often happier and healthier after they’ve had this surgery
Message:- Don’t bear the pain of thinking you are young as young age is more important than older age.
Dr. Hemendra Agrawal | Consultant – Orthopaedics, Joint Replacement & Arthroscopy Surgery | Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur