Knee replacements are among the most common orthopedic surgeries performed, with over half a million performed in the United States each year. Like most joint replacements, most knee replacement patients are of advanced age as joints naturally become weaker and more worn over time. It is also important to note that patients who receive a joint replacement at a younger age are more likely to need a second replacement within a decade.
Compared to other joint replacements, like the shoulder replacements we discussed in a previous blog, knee replacements are necessitated by a relatively small number of conditions. In this post, we’ll discuss what three of the most common conditions are and why they may lead to a total knee replacement. We’ll start with one particular condition that makes up an estimated 90% of all knee replacements: arthritis.
There are a small handful of common types of arthritis that often cause an individual to require a knee replacement, with the three most common being osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and gout. However, osteoarthritis is the cause of 90% of knee replacements conducted in the United States. Osteoarthritis leads to cartilage in joints breaking down, so when you consider that the knee is the largest joint in the body and the joint that bears the most weight, it’s not surprising that osteoarthritis often leads to knee replacements. Especially in stage III or IV osteoarthritis, when there is a large surface area of bone-on-bone contact, a partial or total knee replacement is likely to be recommended.
The two blood supply-related conditions that could result in a knee replacement being necessitated are hemophilia and a lack of blood supply. Individuals with hemophilia have extreme difficulty creating blood clots and this often leads to joint bleeds. For this reason, these individuals often need knee replacements as early as their twenties. On the opposite end of the spectrum, blood flow being cut off from the joint is another common cause for a knee replacement in patients of all ages. A common cause of an individual’s blood supply being cut off is an injury, which brings us to our final condition.
This final set of conditions is much broader than what we’ve discussed up to this point. An injury, general wear, or both in some cases, often result in partial or total knee replacements. More specifically, an individual with osteoarthritis who suffers from a knee injury is extremely likely to require a knee replacement. Additionally, individuals who have spent decades of their life engaging in physical activity may experience wear & tear and require a replacement at a much younger age than more sedentary individuals. Those with significant knee wear may be recommended less invasive procedures prior to a partial or total knee replacement being recommended.
If you or a loved one is undergoing a knee replacement, you can rest easy knowing that these procedures are exceptionally reliable. More than that, they provide long-term relief from pain for patients of all ages.
If you’re among the less-than-2% of patients whose joint replacement has failed, we encourage you to reach out to our team at Greater Dallas Orthopaedics to start the conversation about a revision knee replacement. No other team in the region has more experience providing relief to those in need of a revision knee joint replacement surgery.