There’s no doubt that knee replacements are increasingly popular. More than 600,000 such surgeries were performed in 2012, compared with about 250,000 just 15 years ago. But some new studies suggest that people may be electing to have the procedure prematurely and, perhaps worse, gaining limited benefit from it. According to figures from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the number of knee replacements in people between 45 and 64 soared by 205 percent between 2000 and 2012; among people 65 and older, the increase was only 95 percent.
The message is not that people should wait until their knees break down completely before replacing them. But they should question the need for surgery. “Ask your doctor how advanced your arthritis really is,” Dr. Riddle advises. If you do not have bone-on-bone arthritis, in which all of the cushioning cartilage in the knee is gone, think about consulting a physical therapist about exercise programs that could strengthen the joint, reducing pain and disability, Riddle says. Losing weight helps, too.
Read about this in the New York Times at http://nyti.ms/1v9ziW in a story written by Gretchen Reynolds.
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