Are you too young, too old or too fat to get a knee replaced?

Joint knee replacement surgery has long been used to treat severe arthritis in elderly patients. However, concerns arise when a patient in his 40s or 50s has severe knee arthritis that is not relieved with conservative treatments.

Joint replacement surgery, often regarded as a "last resort" treatment, and once reserved for elderly patients, can render tremendous pain relief for patients suffering with severe arthritis, asserts Dr H S Batth, a senior consultant in the department of orthopedics at the Cosmo hospital, Mohali and Inscol hospital.

 When a patient and surgeon decide to proceed with knee replacement, it's a "quality of life" issue, he points out. 

In the Indian scenario, though the younger people are more health conscious, the elderly accept pain more readily and curtail on the quality of life issue.

Osteoarthritis, which causes the cartilage in joints to wear away, is the usual culprit when knee pain makes walking painful. Even sleeping can be very uncomfortable and distressing, sometimes unbearably because a day's worth of moving around inflames the joint. "It's recommended that when knee pain starts to affect your activities of daily living and conservative treatment is not bringing desirable result one should consider knee replacement."

Earlier, knee replacement was performed in mid 60's or even later, but now even patients in their 50s are undergoing this surgery, remarks Dr Batth. "Thanks to the new evolving technology! Newer implants have more life and are able withstand loads and wear and tear more efficiently. Younger patients undergoing knee replacement have higher activity level and practice sports and impact activities.