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Osteoarthritis Health Center

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Joint Replacement Surgery on the Rise

Study: Sharp Increase in Artificial Knees and Hips by 2030

Joint Replacements Don't Last Forever continued...

"Patients need to be aware that while artificial joint replacements are successful, they don't last forever," he says. There is roughly a 90% chance that an artificial joint will last 10 years, "so if you are 50 or 60 when you undergo your first surgery, you should expect to undergo a revision surgery."

Kurtz suggests that demand for these surgeries may overwhelm supply. There may not be enough orthopaedic surgeons to keep pace with the demand for new joints. "If the massive expected demand for total joint replacement is not planned for before 2030, patients may end up waiting a long time for a new hip or knee."

Surgery Trends

Amar S. Ranawat, an orthopaedic surgeon at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, is expecting to see a growing number of people who need joint replacement surgery in the coming years.

"The baby-boomer population is increasing. And if you think of arthritis as a percentage of the population, then as the population increases, there will be more disease. So there will be more primary arthroplasty, which will lead to more revision arthroplasty," he tells WebMD. Arthroplasty is the technical name for joint replacement surgery.

"People are getting surgeries earlier on in the disease process, and when you undergo your first operation in your 50s, there is an increased risk of having another in your 60s or 70s," he says.

As to whether there will be a shortfall of available orthopaedic surgeons to do all the replacement operations, Ranawat says that "there are a lot of orthopaedic surgeons in major cities that can accommodate the increase, but there may be a shortfall in local, smaller communities, so more people will be going toward major cities to get the operation."

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