We know that more than 1 million total hip and total knee replacements are performed each year in the US. But how many people are actually walking around right now with such prostheses?
That’s the question Kremers et al. answer in the September 2, 2015 edition of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. Using the so-called “counting method” to combine historical incidence data, these Mayo Clinic authors concluded that about 7 million US residents (slightly more than 2% ) were living with a hip or knee replacement in 2010.
Prevalence of hip replacement was 0.83%, while that of knee replacement was 1.52%. Not surprisingly, prevalence increased with age (5.26% for total hip and 10.38% for total knee at 80 years of age), but the authors also found a shift toward younger people having the procedure.
These prevalence stats for hip and knee replacement are similar to those for stroke (6.8 million) and myocardial infarction (7.6 million), underscoring just how common these orthopaedic procedures are. Even in the unlikely event that the annual incidence of these joint replacements remains steady rather than rises, the authors estimate that 11 million people will be living with artificial hips or knees in 2030.
According to Kremers et al., among the many implications of these findings is “a need for the medical profession and the policy makers to recognize and address the lifelong needs of this population,” including the development of evidence-based protocols for follow-up care and radiographic assessments.