Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Need hip or knee transplants? Get in line.

The demand for hip and knee replacements will outpace the number of orthopedic surgeons available to perform the procedures by 2016, according to a study published this month in the Journal of Arthroplasty.

The study was co-authored by Dr. Thomas Fehring, an orthopedic surgeon with OrthoCarolina's Hip & Knee Center in Charlotte.

“The supply of trained orthopedic joint replacement surgeons soon will not meet the demands of our aging society,” Fehring said in a news release.

"Within five years, patients could have to wait up to a year or more to undergo life-altering hip or knee replacement surgery. That kind of delay simply won’t be acceptable to members of the baby boomer generation who are accustomed to living an active lifestyle and expect to maintain it as they enter retirement.”

According to the study, demand for primary and revision joint replacement surgery is expected to double in 10 years as a result of the aging baby boomer population and obesity epidemic in the United States. At the same time, fewer new physicians are electing to specialize in joint replacement surgery, which means fewer physicians will be available to perform the procedures as older physicians retire and are not replaced.

The study’s findings are based on data from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ database; the AAOS Orthopedic Practice in the United States surveys; the Nationwide Inpatient Sample; and the U.S. Census Bureau.


Pamela Maunsell said...

There is no doubt that as the population ages there is going to be a massive need for more health care and hip and knee replacements are just one aspect.

New surgical techniques have resulted in far shorter hospital stays and so a much faster throughput of patients but even with that demand will outstrip supply.

There is a growing interest in having this type of surgery done abroad. The results, to date at least, seem to be good - medical tourism may help towards the solution.

Emma said...

It's not just about an ageing population though. As the life span of the implants improves so surgeons are offering them to younger and younger people. So the profile of hip and knee replacement patients is changing.

Then add on to that the new types of joint replacement surgery that's available knuckles, shoulders, ankles etc

That's one heck of a lot of surgery

DePuy Pinnacle Lawsuit said...

Indeed the number of patients undergoing hip and knee implants is increasing and its very alarming. Probably because doctors are automatically recommending this as a cure for joint and knee pains instead of recommending other alternatives.