Total Knee Replacements

In March 2019 I had the privilege of attending a lecture entitled, ‘Targeting knee OA. More than just the quadriceps’. This caused me to reflect on one of the frequent surgical consequences of osteoarthritis, namely total knee replacements.

Why do You Need a Knee Replacement?

Knee replacement surgical procedures are often carried out due to changes related to osteoarthritis. In Australia, about 98% of partial and total knee replacements were said to be due to a diagnosis of osteoarthritis. In 2010 in the United States, there were 4.7 million people who had received a total knee arthroplasty (total joint replacement). Three million of these were women, and 1.7 million were men. [1]

In Australia the statistics concerning total knee replacements due to osteoarthritis are quite alarming, as there has been an increase of 36% in the rate of such procedures between the years of 2005/2006 and 2015/2016. [2]

In another Australian study, it was found that the number of knee replacement operations (including both partial knee replacements, surgery of previous knee replacements, and total knee replacements) had changed dramatically between 2003 and 2014. The number of these procedures per year increased during these years by up to 97% in the private health setting and around 70% in the public health system. [3] Only a portion of this can be related to population growth, as can be seen by the fact that the Australian population only grew 17.9% between 2008 and 2018.

As most Australians are aware, we have an ageing population, so some of the increased numbers per year of knee replacement related surgeries may be accounted for in this way. However, this can not account for a large portion of the 70% to 97% increase in total knee replacement surgery as according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

What is the Median Age for Knee Replacements?

At June 2017, the median age of the Australian population (the age at which half the population is older and half is younger) was 37.3 years, which is unchanged from June 2012. The median age of males at June 2017 was 36.4 years while the median age of females was 38.1 years. 4 …Over the 20 years between 1998 and 2018, the proportion of the population aged 65 years and over increased from 12.2% to 15.7%.

Why is the Age so Young?

Sadly, the numbers of younger people receiving such surgery have increased and this is thought to be due to an increased prevalence of obesity in younger people.

Although we as Australians view ourselves as a healthy sporty nation, a study found that in 2011 we had the highest rate of knee replacement surgery per capita among a group of countries.

We not only help people recover from the trauma of total knee replacement surgery, but also work to ease the pain and discomfort of knee osteoarthritis.

References

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/orthopedic-surgery/news/first-nationwide- prevalence-study-of-hip-and-knee-arthroplasty-shows-7-2-million-americans-living-with-implants/mac-20431170
  2. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/arthritis-other-musculoskeletal-conditions/osteoarthritis/data
  3. https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/4.1-Knee-replacement.pdf
  4. http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/mf/3235.0
  5. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/0/1CD2B1952AFC5E7ACA257298000F2E76?OpenDocument

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