How old is too old for a total knee replacement?

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People are enjoying active lives at an older age than ever before, so there is no one who would automatically be considered “too old” for total knee replacement surgery. Likewise, nobody would be thought of as “too young” to be suitable.

Having a total knee replacement procedure at the right time for the individual means they can enjoy the maximum benefits for longer as they age.

Most total knee replacements are carried out on people aged 60 to 80. This was typically a common age range in which knee joints “wore out”.

Nowadays, with improvements in health care, surgical techniques and anaesthesia, more people in their 80s and 90s are benefitting from total knee replacement procedures. Also, many more younger adults aged in their 40s and 50s are also undergoing knee surgery in order to continue their active lifestyles.

Am I too old for knee surgery?

If all other factors that are taken into account to determine someone’s suitability for a total knee replacement are favourable, then there is no upper age limit that would preclude an individual from surgery.

Should a clinician conclude that a total knee replacement would benefit a person’s function, mobility, quality of life and reduce pain, then they will be suitable candidates for the operation.

Should I wait until I’m older for knee surgery?

The longer that individuals wait to opt for knee surgery, the greater it will impact their overall health and wellbeing. The increased risks include:

  • An increase in the severity of pain.
  • A reluctance to walk and to exercise can lead to weight gain.
  • Other health issues related to a diminished lifestyle such as depression.

Older patients are also more likely to have multiple co-existing health conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes that can affect recovery.

A recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that up to 90% of patients with knee osteoarthritis had waited too long to have surgery. Those patients had missed out on the maximum benefits of the procedure.

If you are wondering if you should consider having a total knee replacement, but think you might be too old, or even too young, contact us today to discuss your options.

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