When is knee surgery recommended?


What is the right age for total knee surgery?

Your surgeon's recommendation for knee replacement is based mainly on your level of pain and disability; there are no absolute restrictions on age or weight. Most of the people who have knee replacement surgery are between the ages of 50 and 80. The procedure has a high success rate and is considered relatively safe and effective.1 Women are more likely to undergo the procedure; in 2009, the rate of knee arthroplasty for female patients was 57 percent higher than for males2.

How do I know when it's time to consider surgery?

There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend knee replacement surgery.

People who benefit from knee replacement surgery often have:

  • Knee pain that limits everyday activities, such as walking or bending
  • Knee pain that continues while resting, either day or night
  • Stiffness in a knee that limits the ability to move or bend the leg
  • Inadequate pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, or walking supports

Important safety notes

Individual results of joint replacement vary. Implants are intended to relieve knee pain and improve function, but may not produce the same feel or function as your original knee. There are potential risks with knee replacement surgery such as loosening, wear and infection that may result in the need for additional surgery. Patients should not perform high impact activities such as running and jumping unless their surgeon tells them that the bone has healed and these activities are acceptable. Early device failure, breakage or loosening may occur if a surgeon's limitations on activity level are not followed.

1. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website, accessed March 7, 2017: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00389

2. HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2009. Accessed March 7, 2017: https://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/factsandfigures/2009/TOC_2009.jsp

The information listed on this site is for informational and educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice. Every patient's case is unique and each patient should follow his or her doctor's specific instructions. Please discuss nutrition, medication and treatment options with your doctor to make sure you are getting the proper care for your particular situation.