Is It Time To Think About Knee Replacement Surgery?
“Osteoarthritis is a common issue found among women in India and 75-80 per cent of its victims undergo knee replacement surgery”
Look Out For These Signs
As age catches up with your mother, you find yourself noticing that she no longer has that youthful spring in her step. In fact, she is not as fast on her feet anymore and many a times, as she approaches a step on a staircase, she even reaches out for your support. Watch for these signs carefully and you will realise that there is more to it than just age.
The cause of the aches and pains on the joints, especially the knees, can be narrowed down to osteoarthritis, which is more common than you think. Osteoarthritis is a common issue found among women in India and 75-80 per cent of its victims undergo knee replacement surgery.
However, knee replacement surgery should not be the last option for your mother, as a surgery in time can help her lead an active life even in her old age. Here are some facts that will provide insight.
What The Statistics Say
- Women above the age of 40 are most affected by osteoarthritis.
- Women form 60 per cent of the patients who undergo total knee replacement.
- Prevalence of arthritis among women above 60 years is 43 per cent whereas it is 25 per cent among men – this clearly means it affects women more than men.
Surveys also show that women with osteoarthritis opt for surgery much later than men. This is because mothers are taught to always put family and family responsibility ahead of their own health. So ignoring it at its earlier stage may cause further deterioration of the problem.
Reasons For Postponing The Surgery
Many doctors have observed that women wait longer to opt for knee replacement surgery than men do, postponing it until they can no longer stand the pain. And the excuses range from the tear that surgery might leave them immobile to putting the family’s needs first.
Reasons For Postponing The Surgery
Many doctors have observed that women wait longer to opt for knee- replacement surgery than men do, postponing it until they can no longer stand the pain. And the excuses range from the tear that surgery might leave them immobile to putting the family’s needs first.
Earlier, general physicians used to advise patients to wait as long as they can before getting knee replacement. The logic being – this is an once-in a-lifetime surgery that should last an average of 15 to 20 years. However, this no longer holds true.
Modern Knee Replacement Surgery
The surgical techniques and medical technology used in knee replacement surgery nowadays have resulted in faster recovery, which means your mother can get back on her feet and resume normal activities within just a few days after the surgery.
Another advantage is that the new knee replacement joints are able to withstand wear and tear for a longer duration of time and therefore are able to last longer – even up to 30 years. This increases the lifespan of the newly replaced knee joint, reducing the need for a revision knee replacement in future.
According to orthopaedists, even patients in their 50’s and even 40’s affected by osteoarthritis are now opting for knee replacement surgery and this is a good sign, because it indicates that there is increasing awareness among patients.
The Need For Her To Be Self-Reliant
The nuclear family structure that has increasingly gained popularity in the modern era, means that older patients in general and old mothers in particular, have to be self-reliant, as opposed to depending on family members. Doctors advise keeping an eye on the ability to stay mobile and independent.
When To Think About Surgery
So the question is when it is time to start thinking about surgery? The simple answer is – when you notice your mother’s lifestyle starts changing because of hip or knee problems, particularly chronic pain that just doesn’t go away, it’s time to start thinking about surgery for her.
Your mother is the one who made sure you led an active lifestyle when you were a child. At every stage of life she encouraged you. It is now time to return the favour. So, if you realise your mother is complaining about no longer being able to play with her grandchildren or take the stairs easily, it’s time to plan a visit to an orthopaedist so that she can match your stride even in her old age.