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Am I Too Old for a Knee Replacement?

Oct 12, 2022
Am I Too Old for a Knee Replacement?
Chronic knee pain is a major cause of disability, and it tends to become worse as you get older. When conservative treatments don’t work, knee replacement can be a great option — but can you be too old for this surgery? We have the answer.

Doctors perform nearly a million knee replacement surgeries each year in the United States, and that number is expected to grow as the nation ages — and stays more active. Most knee replacement surgeries are performed in knees that have been damaged by many years of wear-and-tear. Not surprisingly, that means a lot of people who have knee replacement surgery are 50 or older. 

But what if you’re a lot older? Is it too late to have the joint replaced? And what age is “too old” when it comes to knee replacement, anyway? 

If you’ve been asking yourself those questions, the team at Integrity Spine & Orthopedics can help. As leading orthopedists in Jacksonville, Florida, our surgeons are experienced in knee replacements for patients of all ages — including patients who are well above 50.

Knee replacement 101

Doctors typically recommend knee replacement surgery for people with chronic and debilitating knee pain that interferes with their mobility and routine activities. Surgery usually is only an option once other conservative treatments have failed to provide relief. That includes approaches such as physical therapy, knee arthroscopy, and joint injections.

Artificial knee joints are composed of special metal and plastic parts designed to articulate or move like a healthy knee joint. During a knee replacement procedure, your surgeon removes the damaged ends of the bones at the joint and attaches the artificial components using special rods and cement.

After surgery, you may be discharged to go home the same day or you may stay a day or two in the hospital to help you get started on the road to recovery. You’ll also have physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around your knee and help you regain your mobility.

Our team also performs partial knee replacements. Typically, these surgeries are performed in younger patients when only part of the joint is damaged.

Knee replacement age limits

Now for the main question: What is the upper age limit for knee replacement surgery? That’s an easy question to answer: There is none. Knee replacement surgery has been successfully performed in patients into their 90s

Age is certainly a factor when deciding whether surgery is appropriate — but it’s just one of many factors. The key is evaluating each patient on an individual basis to determine if surgery is the right choice based on their health profile, their lifestyle, and other factors. That’s true at any age, whether you’re in your 40s, your 90s, or somewhere in between. 

Knee replacement does involve anesthesia, and your body needs to be healthy enough to withstand the demands of the surgical procedure. You also need to be able to participate in the recovery process afterward. 

Your therapy team tailors your level of activity to your ability, but you do need to complete the therapy sessions. That’s important for your mobility and your quality of life after surgery as well as for preventing blood clots that are more common the longer you remain inactive.

The right solution for your chronic knee pain

Knee pain can dramatically interfere with your activities and your enjoyment of life. Fortunately, knee surgery is associated with a high level of patient satisfaction, even among older patients. 

To learn more about knee replacement surgery and other treatments for chronic knee pain, call 904-675-1954 or book an appointment online with the team at Integrity Spine & Orthopedics today.