Why you should have your knee replaced is almost always a straightforward matter: to eliminate pain and to improve your quality of life. However, owing to our active lifestyles and unique backgrounds, the question of when to opt for knee replacement surgery can be a little tougher to discern.
Rather than waiting for your knee to give you a painful prompt, you might first ask yourself what you want to get out of a knee replacement. Some people are willing to forgo joint-intensive sports like running and tennis, so they can hold off on replacement surgery in the short-term. Others, however, would rather lick a newt than take a break from the courts, so they opt for a knee replacement earlier in life.
Knee replacements should have a life span of at least 15 – 20 years; at that point about 85-90% are still in great condition. Individuals who opt for an early knee replacement—i.e., someone still in their fifties—will likely require another replacement procedure down the road. If that’s a factor in your decision, then it’s worth considering that individuals who receive a new knee in their seventies can expect the prosthesis to last a lifetime.
There are, however, other factors that everyone should consider when thinking about a knee replacement procedure. If you have a history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, then it is recommended you might want to have the surgery before these issues progress and make surgery more risky.
Similarly, obese individuals should consider weight loss programs and then have their knee replacements done earlier to prevent complications that can arise during surgery and also enable them to get active and keep weight off.
Amid all of our varied lifestyles and personal histories there’s one thing that certainly does not matter: the type, or brand, of knee replacement. There are lots of different knee replacements, but they’re all pretty much the same. If there is a best type, then it’s the one that your surgeon is most comfortable with. Just like a chauffeur who drives a BMW every day, he simply knows his BMW better than a fellow chauffeur knows his Mercedes. In the end, they’re both luxury cars. So it is with knee replacements.
And just as a chauffeur knows how to maintain his car’s performance so too should you be nice to your knee; so don’t ever think of treating it like a jalopy.
In short, if you live an active lifestyle and wish to keep it that way, then consider having a conversation with your orthopedist and primary care doctor when you’re still in your fifties, sixties, seventies or even eighties! Regardless of your age, if you have any questions and would like to chat over the possibilities with one of our orthopedists, call or email us today and make an appointment.