The Wall Street Journal published a review of trends with knee replacement surgery. A procedure that used to be reserved for elderly, more sedentary individuals, joint replacements are being performed on younger, more active patients.
Doctors typically recommend patients avoid high impact activity after joint replacement including running, soccer, and basketball. Even playing golf is controversial when trying to maximize the longevity of a knee replacement implant. However, many patients want to maintain their active lifestyle, and are unwilling to give up their favorite activities.
This is a complicated problem, because if a joint replacement does wear out, the second replacement, called a revision joint replacement is a more difficult and more expensive surgery. Complication rates are higher after revision replacement, and the results of surgery are less predictable.
Should patients be able to do whatever they choose after joint replacement? Should doctors be performing this surgery in young patients who want to do sports? Most people agree that patients who can't walk, climb stairs, or sleep comfortably, should be eligible for joint replacement, but what about middle-aged athletes that can't run marathons? It's a difficult question! Please leave your comments!
Source: "Pushing Limits of New Knees" Wall Street Journal. April 19, 2011.
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