4.5 million Americans living with total knee replacement

New research presented at the 2012 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) found that more than 4.5 million Americans are living with a total knee replacement (TKR), as the number of TKR surgeries has more than doubled over the past decade, with the sharpest rise among younger patients. Osteoarthritis continues to be the primary reason for TKR.

Investigators used a ; U.S. Census data; information from the National , the Multicenter Osteoarthritis Study and the Osteoarthritis Initiative; and other national data and literature to determine the number of Americans living with TKR.

The study, funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and , found that more than 4.5 million Americans are currently living with at least one TKR. This represents 4.7 percent of the population age 50 years or older – higher than the national rates for congestive heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition:

  • The prevalence of is higher in women and so is TKR: 5.3 percent, compared to 4.1 percent in men.
  • Among persons age 60 to 69, 4.1 percent of men and 4.8 percent of women have a TKR; among those ages 70 to 79, 7.1 percent of men and 8.2 percent of women have had at least one knee replaced.
  • Ten percent of Americans age 80 and older are living with a TKR.
"The number of total knee replacements is growing drastically," said Elena Losina, PhD, lead investigator and co-director of Orthopedic and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. "We now have a lot of people living with TKR," which may lead to substantial increases in the likelihood of revisions and complications, especially in younger patients.

The findings may aide in anticipating the future challenges related to TKR, including capacity for follow-up care, health care costs, and treatment access.

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