Knee replacements might be something you usually associate with elderly folks. These surgeries have been lifesavers for people struggling with constant knee pain and severe arthritis. Over the years, they’ve helped countless individuals regain mobility and improve their quality of life. But traditionally, it’s been something that older adults turn to.
Things are changing, though. Typically, doctors believe that those under 50 are on the younger side for knee replacement operations. However, interestingly, research shows that this under-50 age group is expanding the fastest when it comes to getting knee replacements. This raises a question: Is there such a thing as being ‘too young’ for this type of surgery? What does this mean for those who suffer from chronic knee pain? Let’s look closer and answer some of the questions on age-appropriate knee surgery.
1. What is knee replacement surgery?
Knee replacement surgery, also known as knee arthroplasty or total knee replacement, is a procedure where injured or worn-out knee joints are replaced with artificial parts made of metal and plastic. The goal of this surgery is to alleviate pain and improve knee function. A surgeon will evaluate a patient’s knee—its range of motion, stability, and strength—to determine whether a knee replacement surgery would be beneficial.
Two primary circumstances may lead to the need for a knee replacement. The first is if you’ve suffered a severe knee injury. The second is when a degenerative condition like osteoarthritis gradually erodes the knee joint. In the latter case, surgery is often viewed as a last resort after all other treatment methods—including medications, physical therapy, and lifestyle adjustments—have failed to bring sufficient relief
2. What is the best age to have knee replacement surgery?
As for the question of the ‘right’ age for knee replacement surgery, there’s no definitive answer. Rather than age, the decision to undergo surgery is based more on the patient’s level of pain and disability. While some medical websites report that most patients with total knee replacement are between 50-80 years, orthopaedic surgeons evaluate patients individually. Some surgeons have claimed that 60 to 65 years is the optimal age group to have a knee replacement. However, it depends on how severe your knee pain is and whether it affects your quality of life.
For example, at Hip Knee Orthopaedics Singapore, knee replacement surgery is typically recommended for patients experiencing severe knee pain that persists even while resting, chronic inflammation that hampers daily activities, or when their quality of life is significantly affected by their knee pain. Other indicators include a stiff or deformed knee, low mood or depression caused by knee pain, or if the patient has suffered falls due to knee pain.
3. Can you have half a knee replacement?
You might also be curious if it is possible to have a half-knee replacement. The treatment is also known as partial knee replacement.
Yes, partial knee replacement is an option for some people. It can be done when damage to a knee from osteoarthritis is confined to one compartment. The surgery only replaces the damaged part of the knee. Therefore, half knee replacement is suitable for younger, active individuals due to the typically quicker and less painful recovery process.
4. How long does it take to recover from knee replacement surgery?
When it comes to recovery from knee replacement surgery, timelines can vary. Most people can return to their normal activities within six weeks, though it can take up to three months to fully reap the procedure’s benefits. Following your doctor’s post-surgery instructions, including adhering to a physical therapy and rehabilitation plan, is crucial.
5. How painful is knee replacement surgery?
Finally, some people might hesitate to undergo surgery for fear of the pain. Knee replacement surgery is generally considered a safe and effective procedure. Pain after surgery varies from person to person, but most people experience significant improvement in pain within six weeks. Pain management is an integral part of recovery after knee replacement surgery.
Walk towards a pain-free life with Hip & Knee Orthopaedics Singapore
Don’t let knee pain dictate your life. At Hip & Knee Orthopaedics Singapore, we’re committed to helping you reclaim mobility and live without constant discomfort. Consult with our experts to determine the best course of action tailored to your needs. We’re just one call away from starting your journey towards a pain-free, functional knee. Reach out to us today, and let’s work together to improve your quality of life!