Orthopedic Specialists

Total Joint Trivia - Did You Know?

October 24, 2018

Many of you have undergone hip or knee replacements, are planning to, or may need to in the future.  Here are some interesting facts about joint total replacements, when they were first done, how many are done, and the averages regarding age, men, and women.

The earliest attempt at a hip replacement was in 1891 when Themistocles Gluck tried to use ivory implants to replace the femoral head.  In 1940, an American surgeon, Dr. Austin Moore, performed the first metallic hip replacement at Columbia Hospital in South Carolina. This same basic prosthesis has undergone improvements over the years and is still in use today, although the implant procedure has changed, leading to a more permanent attachment to the femur canal. 

Knee replacement surgery was first performed in 1968.  Since then, improvements in surgical methods and techniques have greatly increased its effectiveness.  Total knee replacements are one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine.  

Recently released research has shown that there were approximately 1.6 million joint replacements performed in the US in 2017.  Over 966,000 were knee replacements and just over 600,000 were hip replacements.  This includes all types of arthroplasties, total, partial, or revision implants.  

Most people who undergo a knee replacement are between the ages of 50 and 80.  The average age is about 70.  About 60 percent of the recipients are women.  

About half of the recipients of hip replacements are older than 65 and about half are younger than 65.  Hip replacements are about equal in men versus women.  Hip replacements are sometimes performed in much younger people due to pain and degeneration as a result of juvenile idiopathic arthritis which severely damages the joints.   

In a nationwide prevalence study by the Mayo Clinic with estimates for 2010, 4.7 million Americans have undergone total knee arthroplasty and 2.5 million have undergone total hip arthroplasty and are living with implants. Prevalence is higher in women than men; 3 million women and 1.7 million men are living with total knees and 1.4 million women and 1.1 million men are living with total hips.  

The age of patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty as well as total hip arthroplasty is trending lower.  Some attribute this to people leading more active lives with regard to exercise, fitness, and general physical activity.  They feel people want to remain active without pain, and do not hesitate to undergo a joint replacement in order to maintain their quality of life – which holds true at any age. 

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