Joint replacement surgery is a common procedure that can help alleviate pain and improve mobility for those suffering from severe joint pain due to arthritis or other conditions. However, many people wonder if there is an age limit for joint replacement surgery. In this blog post, we will discuss the factors that are considered when determining the appropriate age for joint replacement surgery.
- Joint health: The health of the joint is the most important factor in determining the appropriate age for joint replacement surgery. If the joint is severely damaged and non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, bracing, and injections have not provided adequate relief, joint replacement surgery may be recommended regardless of age.
- Age and overall health: As we age, our bodies become less able to tolerate the stresses of surgery and the recovery process. Additionally, older patients are more likely to have other health conditions that may complicate surgery, such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes. However, age alone should not be a determining factor in whether or not to have joint replacement surgery.
- Activity level: The activity level of the patient is also considered when determining the appropriate age for joint replacement surgery. Patients who are more active and have a higher demand for their joints may be considered for surgery at an earlier age than those who are less active.
- Pain and mobility: The most common reason for joint replacement surgery is severe pain and limited mobility caused by arthritis or other joint conditions. If your joint pain is causing difficulty with daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or getting in and out of chairs/vehicles, and non-surgical treatments such as physical therapy, medications, and injections have not provided adequate relief, it may be time to consider surgery.
- Quality of life: If your joint pain is significantly impacting your quality of life and preventing you from enjoying your favorite activities, it may be time to consider surgery. Joint replacement can help improve your ability to move around and be more active, allowing you to enjoy a better quality of life.
- Surgeon preference. Some surgeons prefer not to operate on younger patients for several reasons. A joint replacement can last 15-20 years (depending on several factors). If you receive a joint replacement at a younger age, then you will need multiple revision surgeries during your lifetime; each subsequent revision surgery is more challenging and difficult than the previous both from a technical standpoint and a patient recovery standpoint.
In general, I do not have an age cut off for surgery. I have done joint replacement surgery (for one reason or another) on patients from the ages of 8 to 100+. For younger patients, I look to make sure they have exhausted all other treatment options before undergoing joint replacement surgery. At times this will also include other, less invasive surgeries. For older patients, I consider their personal goals/expectations after surgery, overall health, and activity level. If an 80-year-old patient with activity limitations due to joint pain, has their medical problems under control, and is no longer responding to non-surgical management, they would be a good candidate for surgery. My grandmother had both of her knees replaced when she was 89 (at the time of this post, she is 100). It is important to have a discussion with your surgeon and primary care physician about the possibility of undergoing joint replacement surgery. You should have an open discussion about your goals and expectations after surgery, other treatments methods you have tried, and your health status.