Over the past two decades, the number of seniors getting total knee replacements has risen by more than 161 percent, according to a nationwide analysis of Medicare beneficiaries.
Researchers from the University of Iowa, Carver College of Medicine believe that the dramatic spike in demand for new knees is primarily being fueled by a rapidly growing elderly population that wishes to remain active in their later years.
Often reserved for seniors whose pain can no longer be mitigated by physical therapy or medications, joint replacement procedures can help aging adults gain greater mobility and find relief from arthritis pain.
Recent advances in knee replacement methods can now provide elders with more durable prosthetics. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved a knee implant meant to last up to thirty years. Surgeons are also currently in the process of testing out the effectiveness of using synthetic cartilage as a total knee replacement alternative.
Evidence indicates that joint replacement surgeries can help older Americans stay healthier longer by allowing them to move around and exercise with fewer aches.
A separate investigation, conducted by scientists from Harvard University, found that adults with osteoarthritis may be able to decrease their chances for heart failure by having total knee replacement surgery. Study authors felt that this connection was likely driven by the pain-relieving effects of the procedure, which enabled the aging adults to more easily maintain their physical fitness.