Am I too Young for a Knee Replacement?

Jan 23, 2024
Am I too Young for a Knee Replacement?

Knee replacements were once reserved for the elderly. Doctors often advised patients to put off the procedure for as long as possible. But knee replacements among younger, active adults have become increasingly common in recent years. Read on to learn if

According to a recent study by Northwestern Medicine, 90% of people who would likely benefit from knee replacement wait too long to get the surgery to reap maximum benefit.

Simultaneously, the study reports that about 25% of patients who get a knee replacement do so prematurely, minimizing their long-term gain.

So, what is the sweet spot?

The surgery is most common among patients in their 60s, but the right age differs from patient to patient. 

At Burlingame Orthopedics in Burlingame, California, Richard Han, MD, and his team take a patient-centered and evidence-based approach when recommending knee replacement surgery

In making a recommendation, they consider multiple factors, along with imaging results from X-rays and MRIs. 

Here, they break it all down.

Reasons to wait

The main reason to delay getting a knee replacement is that the internal knee prosthetic won't last forever. The typical knee replacement lasts 15 to 20 years, depending on your activity level and knee strain. Younger patients often live more active lives, which means they may wear the prosthetic out quicker. Someone in their 40s who has a knee replaced might need another one in the future. 

Still, if pain is diminishing your quality of life, surgery may be the best choice.

Deciding now is the time

Here are some signs that suggest now may be the right time for you:

  • Less-invasive treatments, such as joint injections, no longer help
  • Knee pain prevents you from getting a good night's sleep 
  • knee pain impedes normal activities like walking up or down stairs 
  • Knee pain  impacts your mental and physical health
  • You have significant joint damage

If you have significant pain or lack of function, a knee replacement can be life-changing. 

Surgical approaches have improved

Surgical approaches have greatly improved, leading to quicker recovery times. Now, after having a knee replaced, it’s even possible to go home the same day. Rehabilitation typically takes about 12 weeks. However, many patients can walk without an assistive device three weeks post-surgery and drive after 4–6 weeks after. 

To learn if a knee replacement is right for you, book a consultation with the experts at Burlingame Orthopedics. Call or use the online booking tool.