Healthcare News & Insights

Knee replacements turn into lifesaving surgery for some

Knee replacement surgery has obvious benefits to patients’ mobility — but many are finding other surprising benefits.

It’s long been known that replacing arthritic or otherwise non-functional knees can give patients dramatically improved quality of life in terms of reducing pain and increasing their mobility. But experts in the niche are also seeing significant gains in other areas, including weight loss and improved cardiovascular health.

Recently, researchers combed Medicare records to compare the long-term outlook for patients who had knee replacement surgery — and those who did not. Among other things, they found that after three years, those who received new knees had reduced their risk of heart failure by 11%. After seven years, their risk of death from any cause was 50% lower.

Granted, the study isn’t perfect: It was funded by a knee replacement manufacturer, and it wasn’t randomized. But researchers did control for patient age and overall health. So while the results don’t yet prove a direct causation, they do indicate that knee replacements can lead to significant improvement in other measures of health.

 

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