Hip replacements increase 70 per cent in under 55s

New figures released today by not-for-profit healthcare provider Nuffield Health, reveal a significant increase in younger patients opting to have painful joints replaced with prosthetics.

Figures for the past 12 months show the rate of men under 55 having a hip replacement has increased by 75 per cent compared to 2005, with a two-third (66.7per cent) increase for women in the same age group, an overall increase of 71.4 per cent.

A similar trend was revealed for knee replacement with a 40 per cent increase in men and 20 per cent increase in women under 55 having the surgery in the 11 years to 2015. The Nuffield Health figures show women are more likely than men to undergo a hip (59 per cent) or knee replacement (56 per cent).1

Dr Auldric Ratajczak, Nuffield Health Deputy Medical Director comments: “We are seeing a societal shift in the Baby Boomer generation where people are maintaining very active lifestyles in late-middle age. Pain in major joints such as a hip or knee can have a dramatic impact on our lifestyle and increasingly people want to keep active. Today’s new generation hip and knee prosthetics are an attractive alternative to chronic joint pain.”

A national survey of 38 Nuffield Health consultant orthopaedic surgeons[i] has revealed 71 per cent of patients ‘put off’ their surgery for one year. Research also shows that although the top concern about having surgery is that it makes patients ‘feel old’ this view is only held by 26 per cent of patients, suggesting attitudes are shifting. Celebrities like Craig Revel Horwood, Heston Blumenthal and recently Eamonn Holmes have gone public about their hip replacements, showing surgery is the key rather than a barrier to maintaining an active career in your 40s and 50s.

Dr Auldric Ratajczak, Nuffield Health Deputy Medical Director comments: “Traditional wisdom was to put off surgery as long as possible, when even a damaged and painful joint was seen as better than a prosthetic. However advances in technique and the kinds of prostheses available today are vastly differ to a generation ago. Today the majority of hip or knee replacements last much longer than in previous years meaning living in pain is becoming a less attractive alternative.”

The survey found over half of patients (60.5 per cent) can resume normal daily activities within eight weeks of surgery and over nine patients in ten experienced meaningful improvements to their health-related quality of life after a hip or knee replacement. The top noted benefits include: 2

  • Improved general fitness
  • Greater independence
  • Improved mood and general wellbeing
  • Reduced pain

Throughout March Nuffield Health hospitals will be hosting free hip and knee information events. To attend and for further information visit www.nuffieldhealth.com/expertevents or call 0333 3057237.

[1] Nuffield Health February 2016, data on file

2 Nuffield Health, Orthopaedic Consultant Survey, February 2016

Last updated Tuesday 12 July 2016

First published on Wednesday 2 March 2016