Hip replacements not just for the elderly anymore




Hip replacement is becoming more common among middle-aged Americans at the same time as the number of surgeons who perform the procedure is declining, Dr. Alexander S. McLawhorn said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in Las Vegas.

In 2011, patients aged 45-64 years underwent 42.3% of the hip replacements performed, compared with 33.9% in 2002. The number of replacements performed rose from approximately 68,000 in 2002 to 128,000 in 2011, an increase of 89.2%, compared with an increase of 37.0% among those aged 65 years and older, according to data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample.

This “observed growth was best explained by an expansion of the middle-aged population in the United States. This particular age group is projected to continue expanding, and as such the demand for [hip replacement] in this active group of patients will likely continue to rise as well,” Dr. McLawhorn of the Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, said in a written statement.

According to membership data from the AAOS, however, the number of physicians performing hip replacements declined by almost 29% from 2002 to 2011, which will “increase the future revision burden” on those surgeons who are still doing the procedure, the investigators said.

Dr. McLawhorn had no conflicts to report, but one of his associates disclosed relationships with Ethicon, the Knee Society, Medtronic, Mekanika, and Zimmer.

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