Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Orthopedic Surgery to Grow with Baby Boomers

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Orthopedic Surgery to Grow with Baby Boomers

Article excerpt

The orthopedic surgery business will be solvent for many years to come, thanks to baby boomers.

All those laps around the track, jaunts through the neighborhood, tennis matches and softball games will take a toll on many in the active generation.

A study done by Exponent and released at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in March illustrated the problem. Baby boomers remain active into their retirement years, and they'll pay the price with their knees and hips.

The study projected a 673-percent increase in knee replacement surgeries over the next 25 years. Surgeons performed about 450,000 primary or revision knee replacements last year, and that number is expected to balloon to more than 3.5 million by 2031.

Too much working out and not enough working out can bring similar results in the knees and hips. Obesity is also a factor in many cases.

Dr. Joseph Grillo, a surgeon with Orthopedic Institute in Oklahoma City, said it's impossible to tell the exact number of baby boomers who will require knee or hip replacements. And factors such as insurance coverage and government issues are also difficult to project.

The study for the Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons said the totals in all categories have grown significantly. In 1990, 12,807 surgeons performed 181,730 knee replacement surgeries. Last year, the number climbed to 17,925 surgeons and 450,422 cases. The same 12,807 surgeons in 1990 performed 131,847 hip surgeries, and that grew to 208,631.

The ideal patient (for joint replacement) is an older, slender person who is not active, Grillo said. The more active the person is, the more the joint tends to wear out.

He said the same goes for overweight individuals.

Dr. David Teague of the OU College of Medicine said baby boomers will cause an obvious strain on many fields of medicine.

They will increase the incredible burden with hip fractures, Teague said. It will be an epidemic in 20 to 30 years.

Teague said joint replacements are worth the time and money. …

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