If you're under the age of 65 and you and your doctor have discussed a total knee replacement, you may have a number of questions, especially those related to your age and the implications that a replacement would have. Below is an overview of common issues related to an early knee replacement, as well as when to know that a replacement is right for you.
A Second Replacement Is Almost Certain
Considering total knee replacements can last up to 20 years, the younger you are when the first replacement occurs, the higher your chances of requiring a second replacement.
While there are continual improvements in technology and replacements are lasting longer, there can never be a guarantee of how long your replacement will last. This will depend on a number of factors, including why the replacement was necessary in the first place and what your usual activity levels are like.
Research into Early Replacements Isn't as Common
The number of younger patients receiving total knee replacements is increasing, but only in recent times has the age of the patient been taken into serious consideration.
Researchers do know that mechanical failure is more common in younger patients, but the reason why is still unclear. While increased activity is certainly a factor, it's yet to be accurately measured, and this can lead to early failure of the replacement in younger patients. Does this mean total knee replacements should be avoided in those under age 65? Certainly not, especially since waiting too long for the replacement can cause more harm than good.
When an Early Replacement Is Worth It
While an early total knee replacement certainly isn't ideal, for many patients, it's the only answer.
Considering the implications associated with an early knee replacement, it's likely that you and your doctor haven't made the decision lightly. If, after a thorough evaluation and after other therapeutic measures have been taken your doctor still feels a replacement is in your best interest, the knee replacement is likely a necessary procedure. While patients like to wait for the surgery until absolutely needed, waiting too long can cause its own issues. When your pain and mobility have been severely affected, and when quality of life continues to decline, an early total knee replacement could be your only hope of living the life you once lived.
If you're still unsure as to whether an early total knee replacement is right for you, consult with your doctor, such as Family Medical Clinic. They can answer your questions and concerns, and help you to find the best solution possible for your case.
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