“When I started practice 30 years ago, if someone had hip pain, we’d take an X-ray and even if they had arthritis, and were in their 40s, we’d tell them to modify their activity and wait,” stated Dr. William Maloney, professor of orthopedic surgical procedure at Stanford University.

No longer. “The technology caught up with our patients’ desire to stay active,” he stated.

One of the most important improvements got here within the late 1990s and early 2000s — simply in time for the marathon-running, tennis-playing boomers to start displaying indicators of wear and tear and tear.

“The industry figured out a way to make the implants better,” stated Robert Cohen, president of digital, robotics and enabling applied sciences for Stryker’s Orthopedic joint substitute division in Mahwah, N.J. “We used the exact same plastic — relatively soft, but durable — and put it through a post process, of heat and radiation, that made it even stronger.”

The “highly cross-linked polyethylene” implants considerably lowered the necessity for revision surgical procedure. “One of the main reasons for revision was the polyethylene breaking down in the replacement joint,” he stated.

Thanks to the arrival of the stronger, extra sturdy materials, he says, “we’ve pretty much eliminated that.”

The new implants additionally helped result in sooner restoration occasions.

“When I was a resident, people were admitted to the hospital for 10 days after a total hip or knee,” stated Dr. Dorothy Scarpinato, in Melville, N.Y. “Now they get them out after a day or two.” As a consequence, she added, “people aren’t as afraid of this surgery as they used to be.”

The components contributing to the shorter hospital stays, Dr. Maloney stated, embody much less invasive surgical procedure, accelerated rehabilitation protocols, higher ache administration strategies and using regional versus normal anesthesia.

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