Epidemic of Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis

In light of recent research, the U.S. may need more orthopedic surgeons in the coming decades. Due to the expected rise in osteoarthritis, the number of total knee and hip joint replacement procedures will also increase at a staggering rate in the next 25 years. Steven M. Kurtz, Ph.D. presented these findings at the 73rd meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, sparking questions about the future of orthopedic medicine. Non-surgical techniques to prolong joint health should be considered by healthy individuals in an effort to reduce incidence of or prevent the need for total joint replacement.

Determining the amount of total joint revisions wasn’t an easy task considering there isn’t a current joint replacement registry available in the U.S. Dr. Kurtz and his research team compiled data by looking at the numbers of total joint replacements performed between 1990 and 2003, and using the Nationwide Inpatient Sample historical database as well as census data to discover joint replacement trends. The results of the team’s efforts show that the number of total hip replacement surgeries may increase by 673 percent, while total hip revision procedures can climb by as much as 174 percent.

One major concern for future knee or hip replacement patients is a potential lack of orthopedic surgeons to perform the procedures. Through 1990 and 2003, relatively few surgeons performed the total joint replacement procedures; should the projections prove accurate, and the number of orthopedic surgeons doesn’t significantly increase, wait times for patients to undergo surgery may be long.

Rather than living with painful osteoarthritis of the knee or hip, healthy, active and young individuals can reduce the risk of painful and debilitating joint disorders through preventive measures. Exercising correctly with proper equipment, good form and adequate rest, as well as eating nutritiously, can help keep joints healthier, longer. Additionally, non-surgical Regenerative Medicine techniques, such as platelet-rich plasma therapy, hyaluronic acid injections and bone marrow concentrate therapy, can enhance the body’s natural ability to heal itself. At the Orthohealing Center in Los Angeles, California, physicians utilize these therapeutic techniques to manage and treat both acute and chronic painful and damaged joints. By taking advantage of these cutting-edge therapies, patients can boost the repair and regeneration process in osteoarthritic joints. In many cases, surgery can be avoided, and the patient can regain range of motion and function in their affected joint.

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