Poorer Results for Knee Replacements in Younger Patients

By Chris Centeno, MD /

Receive a Regenexx® Patient Info Packet by email and learn why it's a superior regenerative solution.

knee replacements in younger patients

We have a problem. We have convinced a generation of younger knee arthritis patients through commercial advertising that a knee replacement will “fix” their knee. However, this isn’t really true. Now another new study shows that while older patients have more severe arthritis than younger knee replacement patients, younger patients report poorer results with the procedure.
Before we get into the new study, let’s look at some prior studies I’ve covered regarding younger patients and knee replacements.

Prior Studies on Knee Replacements in Younger Patients

In addition to device manufacturers’ advertising, you may find articles sponsored by these companies plugging early replacements as a better option, but what does the research say? I’ve posted a lot of research on knee replacements in young patients over the years that simply don’t support knee replacements in younger patients.

The most pressing reason patients give for having a knee replacement is pain, and as you probably already know if you read my blog regularly, pain is the most common complaint following a knee replacement. While you might think having a knee replacement at a younger age may give you a better chance at less pain, the opposite is actually true—patients who are younger at the time of their knee replacement are more likely to have more pain following the surgery. And since these younger knee replacement patients have more pain, research shows that these younger patients also needed more drugs (e.g., analgesics, nerve drugs, narcotics) to address the pain.

In September of last year, I shared a study published in 2015 revealing that there were over 7 million Americans with either artificial knees or hips, and the research established trends that included a shift to younger age patients receiving knee replacements. It’s worth noting here that this study was based on 2010 data, so these numbers have likely gone up as a greater number of younger people have these surgeries.

So what about a partial knee replacement? Does this improve outcome for knee replacements in younger patients as all the advertising promises? In this procedure, surgeons replace just one part of the knee, typically the inside or outside compartment. In 2013 I shared study results showing early failure in some of these partial knee replacement prostheses, bone loss around the device, and higher revision rates in younger patients with only 85% lasting five years.

New Study Shows Poorer Results in Younger Patients with Knee Replacement

The new study compared both severity of arthritis and outcome scores in younger knee replacement patients (age 55 or younger) and older knee replacement patients (age 65–70). While the older patients had more severe arthritis than the younger patients, the younger patients reported lower outcome scores, particularly, again, reporting more pain than their older counterparts. Why do these younger patients with less severe arthritis have poorer results with knee replacement?

First, younger patients have higher activity levels. They expect more from a knee replacement. These prostheses are designed for older people whose only exercise may be a brisk walk around the block. Also, the fact that these younger patients have a need for an early knee replacement may mean that there are systemic issues causing the joint to degenerate, which may predispose these patients to a less favorable outcome. Finally, the pain may not have even been coming from the knee.

The upshot? There’s a bus in my town that runs ads paid for by the local hospital that preaches shiny, new knees to the young and hyperactive masses. This week, a middle-aged guy or gal will enter a surgical suite in that hospital, be prepped for surgery, and then have his or her knee amputated and replaced with an artificial one. A year from now, there’s a good chance that patient will still be in pain and will still be popping pain medication. Five years from now, that younger patient may be one of the 15% who will have to undergo revision due to a failed knee replacement. There’s also a significant chance that he or she will be like one of the patients in this study who ended up with poor results. I can only hope that patient is reading now and realizes knee replacement may not be the right “fix” for his or her knee.

Category: Knee, Latest News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

7 thoughts on “Poorer Results for Knee Replacements in Younger Patients

  1. Warren Cartmel

    I had a medial knee replacement a year ago. I’m much better off than I was before the surgery. Would a stem cell procedure on the other part of the knee help stem off future
    knee problems?

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Warren,

      Arthritis is caused by the breakdown of the joint’s ability to repair itself therefore bringing stem cells to the area is very important. Depending on the condition of the knee, a platelet procedure might also be enough. http://www.regenexx.com/the-regenexx-procedures/knee-surgery-alternative/

  2. james reardon

    I had the regenexx knee procedure done in june of 2016 . I am going to physical therapy 2 x a week to strengthen up the areas of the knee . I hope for a favorable outcome in the months to come . I am told by my doctor the true results will not be noticable on an mri for about a year or so.

  3. Thyagaraja Reddy

    My father having Knee pain from last one year…can anyone call me
    9900617166

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Thyagaraja,

      We will have someone contact you when the office reopens on after Christmas.

  4. Dolores Else

    I do not have an overweight problem, but I do have thrombocytosis (too many platelets) for which I take Agrylin and it keeps my platelets in the normal range. I do not know if my platelets are normal. Am I a good candidate for stem cell injection? My meniscus is about gone.

    1. Regenexx Team Post author

      Dolores,

      I would have a concern that this drug inhibits the formation of a key cell involved in platelet development. There’s nothing published for that drug and MSCs, so we would likely start with a platelet injection to see if we can get temp relief and proof of concept before a stem cell procedure.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
View Profile

Get Blog Updates by Email

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
Select Your Problem Area
Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

  • Rotator Cuff Tears and Tendinitis
  • Shoulder Instability
  • SLAP Tear / Labral Tears
  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Other Degenerative Conditions & Overuse Injuries
Learn More
Cervical Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Knee

Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

  • Knee Meniscus Tears
  • Knee ACL Tears
  • Knee Instability
  • Knee Osteoarthritis
  • Other Knee Ligaments / Tendons & Overuse Injuries
  • And more
Learn More
Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
Learn More
Hand & Wrist

Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Hand and Wrist Arthritis
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Trigger Finger
  • Thumb Arthritis (Basal Joint, CMC, Gamer’s Thumb, Texting Thumb)
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More
Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

  • Golfer’s elbow & Tennis elbow
  • Arthritis
  • Ulnar collateral ligament wear (common in baseball pitchers)
  • And more
Learn More
Hip

Hip

Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

  • Labral Tear
  • Hip Arthritis
  • Hip Bursitis
  • Hip Sprain, Tendonitis or Inflammation
  • Hip Instability
Learn More
Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
Learn More

Is Regenexx Right For You?

Request a free Regenexx Info Packet

REGENEXX WEBINARS

Learn about the #1 Stem Cell & Platelet Procedures for treating arthritis, common joint injuries & spine pain.

Join a Webinar

RECEIVE BLOG ARTICLES BY EMAIL

Get fresh updates and insights from Regenexx delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to the Blog

FOLLOW US

Copyright © Regenexx 2019. All rights reserved. | Privacy Policy

*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.

Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.