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Knee Replacement Surgery for Osteoarthritis on the Rise

Knee Replacement Surgery for Osteoarthritis on the Rise

Annual cumulative incidences of partial and total knee arthroplasty increased rapidly over a 27-year period among 30- to 59-year-olds in Finland, according to a study in Arthritis & Rheumatism, an American College of Rheumatology publication. The biggest increase occurred in patients aged 50 to 59 years, and incidences were higher in women throughout the study period.

Leskinen and coworkers1 obtained Finnish Arthroplasty Registry data on all unicondylar and total knee replacements performed between 1980 and 2006. They analyzed the effects of sex, age-group, and hospital volume on incidence rates of arthroplasty for knee osteoarthritis (OA).

There was a 130-fold increase in incidence of total knee arthroplasty among patients aged 30 to 59 years during the study period. The incidence increased from 0.5 to 65 operations per 100,000 persons; the most rapid increase occurred from 2001 to 2006. The authors suggested that their findings confirm rapid growth in incidences of partial and total knee arthroplasty in patients younger than 60 years and that because younger patients may be at higher risk for artificial knee joint failure, long-term data are needed before widespread use of total knee arthroplasty is recommended for this patient population.

An estimated 10 million or more adults in the United States are affected by OA, it was noted, and for those with advanced disease, arthroplasty may be the only treatment option to relieve the disabling pain and stiffness and improve quality of life. More than 600,000 total knee replacements were performed in the United States in 2009, according to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report, and that number is estimated to grow by 673%, to 3.48 million procedures, by the year 2030.

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