Earlier generations weren't as likely to need new hips or knees. They weighed less, placing less stress on their joints; lived a shorter span; and didn't indulge in injury-prone sports such as skateboarding and rollerblading, which hadn't been invented. Fortunately, joint replacement has kept up with our more-thrills, more-spills lives.
"Orthopedic surgery has made a quantum leap in just the last decade," says Gary M. Ferguson, MD, clinical director of the Total Joint Center. "Ten years ago, patients were admitted two days before surgery and were immobilized for two days after surgery. Today, patients are on their feet the day after surgery. Some stand, some are able to take small steps. They go home in just four to five days."
Thanks to recent advances in joint replacement surgery, hip and knee implants fit better and feel better than they did ten years ago. High-tech surgical instruments allow the surgeon to make a more accurate cut on the bone and provide new ways to hold the implant and place it on the bone for a precise fit. The more precisely the implant fits, the less likely the patient is to be aware of his joint.
Innovations made in implants enable them to stay fixed to the bone and distribute weight evenly. The result is less wear and tear on one portion of the implanted joint, and that extends the life of the replacement parts.
Be sensible and your new joints will be with you for years to come.