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Knee replacement surgeries jump to 500K

September 7, 2012

Many retirees recognize that physical activity is a key component of a healthy lifestyle for seniors, but joint pain and arthritis can make it difficult for them to get around. Thanks to this desire to stay physically active, an increasing number of older adults are having knee replacement surgery, NBC affiliate WBBH reports.

The number has ballooned considerably in just a short time. Industry insiders say several years ago surgeons performed about 300,000 knee replacement procedures. Today, that figure stands at about 500,000. The sharp rise is likely due to the fact many adults are trying to stay ahead of joint pain and getting the surgery before they have no other choice.

"I wouldn't trade this mobility for the world," Ramona West, who had knee replacement surgery, told the news channel. "Why make somebody wait until they're 65 when they can have an extra 10 or 15 years of being able to walk?"

Though knee replacement surgery can help seniors stay active, whether they want to pursue their gardening hobby or continue playing in a pickleball league, like any medical procedure it is not without its risks. Earlier this year, researchers found that knee replacement patients are substantially more likely to have a heart attack during the recovery period than others.