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Sporty baby-boomers spark surge in hip-replacements

Lots of stuff in the papers today on the rising numbers of hip replacements being done in younger people. The copy below is from the BBC News site.

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The number of hip replacement operations on people aged under 60 has risen 76% in the last decade, NHS figures for England reveal.

In 2004-05 there were 10,145 hip replacements for people aged 59 and below, with 17,883 in 2014-15.

The Royal College of Surgeons says this is partly because doctors are now more confident that replacement joints will be more durable than in the past.

Patients are also said to be less willing to wait.

Demand for new hips across all ages has risen – there were 89,919 of the operations in 2004-05 and 122,154 in 2014-15.

Stephen Cannon, vice-president of the RCS, says as hip replacement techniques and prosthetics have improved, so have the numbers of younger patients undergoing this type of surgery.

“It’s no longer seen as a last resort.

“As surgeons, we now have more confidence about the wear rate of these prosthetics which allows us to be less restrictive on an age basis.”

‘Less arduous’

He said surgeons used to advise patients with hip pain to wait until they were 60 or 65 to have a replacement because the old-fashioned replacements had a shelf-life of about 15 years, meaning the operation might need redoing once in a lifetime – when the patient had turned 80.

“If you look at newer prosthetics, you could do the first operation at 55 and it is going to last for 20 years or more, so you would still only need one revision in a lifetime.”

He said another factor might be patient demand.

“Certainly, in my experience, patients do not get fobbed off. They don’t want to wait for an operation. They say, ‘I can’t play a round of golf or tennis and I want to.'”

Mr Cannon said concerns over the safety of a particular type of hip replacement (metal-on-metal) in 2010 did not appear to have affected demand.

He said hip operations had become less arduous. Patients can be back on their feet with crutches on the same day or the day after surgery, and out of hospital within three days post-op. “They’re off crutches altogether by six weeks.”

‘Perfect storm’

Most hip replacements are done if the joint becomes damaged from arthritis or an injury.

Many of the conditions treated with a hip replacement are age-related so hip replacements are usually carried out in older adults.

Mr Cannon says it’s not clear if conditions such as osteoarthritis are becoming more common and affecting people at younger ages, but it is worth exploring.

And with an ageing population, he says demand for hip operations could soon outstrip supply.

“The ageing population is a perfect storm. We are not there quite yet, but we might be in 10 years from now. It’s a continuing trend.”

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Types of treatments available at Latham Hip Surgery
  • Treatments
  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Tens of thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s now an established technique, and the results are usually excellent in carefully selected patients…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s a relatively new technique, but the results are usually excellent…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more