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Not too young for joint replacement

It’s a common misconception that many people younger than 60 interested in joint replacement should hold off until the pain is unbearable. This approach forces this population to sacrifice their quality of life and live with chronic joint pain. Thankfully, advancements in joint replacement technology are allowing this growing number of younger people to become potential candidates – and find relief sooner.

Each person’s body can experience joint pain for different reasons. For younger patients, joint pain may be caused by congenital disorders that predispose them to arthritis at a younger age. Excess weight also can be a factor. Roughly for every pound a person weighs, three pounds of pressure are placed on the knees when walking. Most commonly, joint pain for younger patients may be caused by fractures and/or ligament tears following intense activity. Even if the joint was not affected at the time of injury, it may affect the joint later in life.

By putting off joint replacement surgery, the joint deformity may become worse which would require more specialized implants or utilize more extensive surgical techniques. Patients may also start favoring their other leg to compensate for the pain, but this could cause additional pain.

Studies have shown that newer hip and knee implants may be able to last up to 25 years, whereas implants of the past would only last 10 years, requiring a follow-up replacement surgery. Because of the potential for a second surgery, many people put off the initial surgery as long as possible. With these better implants and mewer technology that allows for more precise placement of the implant, a second joint replacement surgery may not be needed.

The MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center at Long Beach Medical Center offers traditional replacement surgeries for the hip and knee by a skilled orthopedic surgeons. These experts have performed thousands of complex joint replacement surgeries and have many years of combined surgical experience. Long Beach Medical Center delivers an unforgettable patient experience with high satisfaction rates and quality outcomes. Features include private patient rooms, a group therapy room, patient education, a pre-operative class, and a Joint Care Coordinator. Patients recover and leave the hospital in an average of 1.10 days compared to the national average of 1.54. Also, 97% of patients are discharged home rather than a Skilled Nursing Facility compared to the national average of 94%.

Long Beach Medical Center uses robotic-assisted surgical technology called Mako®, which brings a higher level of precision to treating patients with knee and hip pain. Types of Mako procedures offered include:

  • Mako Partial Knee: Performed using the proven robotic-arm assisted technology Mako provides surgeons precision to address only the diseased portion of the knee, retaining as much of the natural knee as possible — including healthy bone and ligaments.
  • Mako Total Knee: Transforms the way total knee replacements are performed. Through CT-based 3-D modeling of bone anatomy, surgeons can use the Mako System to create a personalized surgical plan and identify the implant size, orientation and alignment based on each patient’s unique anatomy.
  • Mako Total Hip: Performed using the proven robotic-arm assisted technology, Mako provides surgeons precision in placement of implants.

Joint replacement surgery can relieve you from chronic pain and provides the opportunity to return to work and other daily activities. Instead of waiting until joint pain is unbearable, speak to a physician about your options, including joint replacement surgery with Mako.

For more information, visit memorialcare.org/LBJointReplacement or call 800-MEMORIAL.

This article was written by Andrew Wassef, M.D., medical director, MemorialCare Joint Replacement Center, Long Beach Medical Center.