Obesity Among Young May be Fueling Increasing Rate of Knee Replacements
In the US a new study of 9,000 patients across 22 states show that obesity is causing an unprecedented increase in knee replacement surgery among those under the age of 65.
“What was once thought of as a procedure for older people or those with sporting injuries is changing,” said David Ayers, MD, Chair of the Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation and director of the Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. “Our study shows that younger patients are more obese and experience the same amount of pain and functional disability as older patients and in some cases even more.”
“What we’re seeing is that the rise in obesity rates in younger people is having a dramatic influence on the number of total joint replacement surgeries,” Ayers said. “These are not premature or unnecessary procedures.”
Knee replacement surgeries are already one of the most common procedures in the U.S. Approximately 600,000 are performed each year at a cost of $9.9 billion, and the demand is expected to grow to 3.48 million procedures a year by 2030.
Reference: Medical News Today 05/11/2013 (www.medicalnewstoday.com)