We are wearing out. We are living longer, playing harder, and as a result more and more individuals are needing joint replacements - at younger and younger ages. The numbers are rising exponentially, especially with the aging baby boomer population.
Arthritis is on the rise, especially in the knee and hip region. There are many causes of arthritis (the most common is the "wear and tear" version, osteoarthritis) and the common denominator is a worn-out painful joint that over time limits more and more of your function.
Fortunately, for those whose life has become limited and filled with pain, there is usually a solution - joint replacement surgery.
The orthopedic parts department is up and running with an ever expanding array of designs, for a wide variety of joints. Most commonly they are put in knees and hips, but other areas include shoulders, ankles and even the spine (cervical spine and lumbar spine disk replacement).
Joint replacement surgery, in any joint, is a big procedure, and the decision to have one should never be taken lightly. In most instances you can expect an excellent result with a dramatic positive change in your life and lifestyle.
Most patients are extremely happy. In fact, it is hard to find a surgical procedure that enjoys more overall success rates, when critically evaluated from a scientific standpoint, than hip and knee replacement surgery.
Even with these high success rates, there are ways that you can increase the odds for a successful result. I believe that expectations fuel outcomes, so in addition to finding an experienced surgeon, you need to learn as much as you can before hand about the procedure, the recovery, the potential complications and even the hospital and/or rehabilitation center involved in your care.
You can learn more about joint replacement surgery from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.
If you are facing a joint replacement, or have had one, share your thoughts - and help others.