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Am I too young for a knee replacement?

March 01, 2021

Ask the doctors

8bc05dfb-6883-4d80-8c25-8f5c81ab4fc6Q. I'm in my early 50s and am considering a knee replacement for severe arthritis. I've heard that doctors typically encourage people to wait until after age 60 to perform this procedure. Should I wait to have the surgery?

A. Doctors do sometimes recommend that people under age 60 wait to undergo a knee replacement procedure, because these artificial joints typically last only about 15 to 20 years. If someone younger gets the procedure, it's likely that the joint will need to be replaced again down the line. That said, the decision to have a joint replacement really depends more on your individual circumstances, such as how much pain you have, whether the problem is causing you significant disability, and your overall health, not just how old you are. Some people can safely wait until they are 60 to undergo the procedure without a problem. For others, waiting too long to have the knee replaced might not be advised. For example, if the knee joint deteriorates too much, that may make the surgery to replace it more challenging. Over all, most people (80% to 90%) who do opt for a knee replacement are happy with the results of the procedure, but it's best to discuss the pros and cons with your doctor.

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