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Optimal time for knee replacement surgery

When Is the Optimal Time for Knee Surgery 

According to a study by Northwestern Medicine, 90 percent of patients who would benefit from a knee replacement surgery are waiting too long. The same study also found that about 25 percent of patients have the procedure too soon. 

So how do you find the sweet spot? When the timing is just right for you? 

There’s no magic number—no ideal age for knee replacement surgery. It’s a combination of factors unique to you, including:

  • Your age
  • Your knee pain treatment history
  • Your medical history
  • The amount of pain you feel in your knees
  • How well your knees function

Putting off your surgery could mean missing out on several active, relatively pain-free years. But jumping the gun may result in an additional surgery later in life. That’s why it’s so important to partner with your orthopaedist now to avoid regrets later.

What if you wait too long?

Simply put, the longer you wait to get a knee replacement, the more wear and tear you put on your knees. Plus, you’ll also continue living with ever-increasing pain, stiffness, or mobility issues, and there are quality-of-life issues to consider as well:  

  • As your knee condition worsens, you may need to stop doing everyday activities, exercise, or hobbies you enjoy, which can lead to other health conditions including depression.
  • You’ll continue to age as you delay surgery, making it more likely you’ll experience a longer and more difficult rehabilitation process after surgery. You may also experience continued loss of mobility and function in your joint as well as an increased risk for conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure.  
  • You may miss out on the maximum benefit from a new joint, such as improved mobility and functionality. 

What if you have surgery too soon? 

The average age for knee replacement surgery is about 70 years old. However, some athletes and people who are especially active may decide to have the surgery as young as 50.

If you’re young and considering a knee replacement, you should know that an active lifestyle may mean more wear and tear on the joint implant, which may mean the return of pain, stiffness, and mobility issues.

Early surgery may eventually lead to a second knee surgery, depending on how active you are. As with any surgery, knee replacement surgery carries risks, especially as you age.

How to decide the right time

With so many factors impacting the timing – and the outcome – of your potential knee replacement surgery, it’s important to include an orthopaedist in the conversation early. Your doctor will look at the factors noted here and review your X-rays and MRIs to make a recommendation about whether and when knee replacement surgery is a good fit for you.  

See a specialist at DOC Orthopaedics

If you’ve started to notice more knee pain than usual or if over-the-counter pain medication no longer works for you, it may be time to discuss your options with one of the specialists at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine. 

Since 1972, our specialists have been committed to providing exceptional orthopaedic care through innovative techniques, quality services, patient communication, and education. With specialties ranging from general orthopaedics and physical therapy to sports medicine and more, the doctors at DOC Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can provide local expert guidance on when and if knee replacement surgery may be the appropriate next step to managing your knee pain. Click here to schedule an appointment today.

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