The American Board of Orthopedic Surgery and the rest of the orthopedic community are very familiar with hip and knee issues leading to replacement. However, when you’re a 53-year-old mother of two – a hip replacement might sound pretty intimidating. The experience of declining strength and flexibility can be a very lonely & frustrating one. Once the pain becomes debilitating, you may feel irritable and eventually fall into depression.

But you’re not alone…

In the orthopedic community, joint replacement operations are quite common. 12.5 million adults see a physician each year about joint pain. Around 1 million adults actually end up having a replacement procedure annually.

That left us wondering how many people are actually living with a replacement today?

The first hip replacement took place in 1969

Now there certainly weren’t 1 million replacement procedures performed in 1970, but as technology advances, it becomes easier to have the surgery & people recover faster. Each year the number of adults getting orthopedic surgery tends to increase.

On average, a successful replacement surgery, performed by a board-certified orthopedic surgeon has about a 98% success rate. That is pretty high when you define success as being able to return to normal activity levels, full-motion & rotation, and improved strength and overall performance of the joint. With high success rates and increasing recovery speeds, orthopedic surgery is safer than ever.

Living With A Joint Replacement

In March 2014, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) the Mayo Clinic presented a study on Americans living with replacements. They found that about 4.7 million Americans had total knee arthroplasty. Additionally, 2.5 million Americans have had total hip arthroplasty and are now living with implants.

In women, they found that women were having knee replacement surgery almost 3x more than men – 3 million women and 1.7 million men are living with replacements to be exact. 1.4 million women and 1.1 million men have had a total hip replacement and are living with implants.


Prevalence Increases With Age

If you’re between 80 and 89 years old, about 6% of your peers are living with hip replacements. We expect this number to be higher in 20 years or so. If you’re in the same age range, about 10% of your peers have had a total knee replacement.

“These numbers underscore the significant positive impact on health and quality of life that total joint replacement surgeries have made since the era of the total joint replacement began in 1969 — development of the total knee replacement technique followed in 1971. This large number highlights how these operations have kept a substantial part of our population mobile despite severe arthritis, something that wouldn’t have been possible before these technologies were available.” ~ Daniel J. Berry, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota

The Mayo Clinic also presented findings that there were approximately 1.5 times more people living with replacements as there were people living with heart failure.

Dr. Berry also mentioned that “Individuals with joint replacement constitute a special population with distinct needs that extend beyond the immediate hospitalization course and the postoperative period.” This is something our practice agrees with wholeheartedly. That’s why we make sure that you have access to your doctor AND physical therapist at every point before, during, and after your procedure with us.

Aging is a phenomenon we all must go through, whether we’re ready for it or not. We want you to know that having a joint replacement procedure is something that will alleviate a challenging & frustrating aspect of daily life – and not something to fear or resent. Joint replacement surgeries have been very successful in improving aging adults’ lives. We’re very proud to perform these procedures because we’ve seen the impact it can have on quality of life time and time again.