Younger patients are opting for knee or hip replacement surgery

The Dallas Morning News—September 7, 2010

Joint replacement was once the surgery of last resort for elderly folks who'd otherwise end up bedridden.

Not anymore.

For Diane Hitchcock, 56, of Noank, Conn., knee replacement surgery meant she could go rock climbing again, just six months after the surgery.

"Patients have more options and are choosing to have the surgery sooner, rather than later," says Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, Hitchcock's orthopedic surgeon and director of joint replacement research at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

Projections show that by 2011, more than 50 percent of patients requiring hip replacements will be younger than 65. Same thing for knee replacement patients by 2016. Among knee replacement patients ages 45-54, the number of procedures is projected to grow from less than 60,000 in 2006 to almost a million by 2030.

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