knee replacement prior to age 60?

on 8/19/07 2:09 am - Victoria, Canada
My orthopedic surgeon says that he will not replace my knees even though they are shot because I am not 60 years old yet.  I told him that I don't think that I can wait another ten years for some relief from this pain and he said only hacks will replace knees prior to age 60.  I am trying to gather  some information about people who have had this done by non-hacks and are living well.  I want to go back to him and let him know that it is being done and successfully, so please could you tell me your story?  Thanks in advance. Holly
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on 8/20/07 5:21 am - Reedsport, OR
You should get a second opinion.  I have had a specialist tell me I need knee replacement and would do it but I needed to lose some weight first.  I weighed at the time 300 lbs and was asking me to come back at 250 lbs.   I gained weight instead of lost. Bonnie
on 8/20/07 11:05 am - Victoria, Canada
I have had this response from several different orthopods that I have seen over the years.  This one was more adamant maybe because I was more insistent that he give me new knees.  I had to wait for 8 months to see this guy, I have a feeling that I could spend the rest of my life on a waitlist to find someone who will do my knees.
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Marie R.
on 8/24/07 4:17 am - Canada
RNY on 01/11/08 with
Hi there, I'm currently using a walker, can't stand but for a minute, take Naproxen and tylenol athritis in order to get from bed to my chair, and to the loo.  If I have to go out, I'm on hillbilly heroin (oxy).  I'm 45.  I have had neovisc injections about every 3 months in each knee for about 4 years.  I stopped doing that 16 months ago because the cost was tremendous ($500/set).  I've had one set of corisone shots but the ortho didn't recommend me continuing them because it destroys the soft tissue in the joint if you do it more than once a year.  (And even then, for someone bone on bone ... why bother.) I've been to see several ortho specialists.  I've only found one that will do my knees.  However, he won't do anything until I am at or under 250 pds.  His approach is that he will try to do a half knee replacement, if he can. All the other doctors have said no because of age and weight.  When I query the ones that said no because of weight, they say they still wouldn't operate because of my age.  They say it would be a dis-service.  They cannot understand why a doctor WOULD operate. As you probably already know, there are risks involved with the surgery.  It's not a 100% effective.  I forget the actual percentages .. but something like 80% of the first knee surgeries are ok.  They currently anticpate that a replaced knee joint will last approx. 10 years or so.  A second knee operation goes down to a success rate of like 50% ok.  There is more liklihood of issues with ligaments and other soft tissue that are required to support the joint.  Or, you have the "joy" of a fused knee. So, even taking that all into account, I still desperately want a knee operation and am doing what I can to loose the weight.  It just takes so darn long if you want to do it healthy and you can't move!  I'm seriously looking at WLS to help me get the weight down quicker. I hope you find your doctor.  Check out sports doctors.  He's the guy that will do my knees.  The regular guys wouldn't. Good luck! Marie
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on 3/2/14 7:36 am - Magnolia, VA

My husband was in his 50's and his knee was bone on bone.  The orthopedist did not understand how he could walk into his office.  He did the new type of knee replacement where they do not cut into your quadriceps.  He did his exercises as prescribed and attended all physical therapy sessions.  He is as good as new.  It was Dr. Lyonburger with Baylor who did the surgery here in Houston.  Great surgeon. 


on 8/22/07 4:03 am - Philadelphia, PA
Hi, I live in Philadelphia, my ortho doc is part of Temple University and he will do me once I reach 250 lbs.  I am 52 yrs. old and one knee is bone on bone and the other is following.  My GBS surgeon who is part of the U o P group is a general surgeon and he says by all means have the surgery if it gets you off your a$$ and into the gym.  I love him, he is so down to earth.  I have been doing the Synthis shots every 6 months (not much relief), a shot of cortizone (10 weeks) really helped but still can't walk great distances, I use Repargen (I have noticed a difference) and Ultram (generic) for pain, gets me through the day. That is my story.  The day the scale says 250 I am booking my table in the operating room. Good luck to you I would look around and get another if not a few more opinions. You don't need to wait until you are 60 to do what you need to have your life back. Jeanne
on 9/17/07 5:49 am - St. Petersburg, FL
Hi Holly, I just thought I would give you my response.  I have had bilateral knee arthritis for almost 20 years, I am 43 years old.  The pain had been increasing in pain for years.  I was on multiple nsaids and pain meds.  Even last year when I had my gastric bypass it was getting to the point I couldn't put all my weight on my right knee and had to frequently use my cane.  So in August 2006 I had my gastric bypass and to date have lost 116 lbs.  However, back in January I was around 185 or so and my knees were still bothering me especially the right one.  I saw my regular orthopedic doctor and he did some new xrays and referred me to the reconstruction specialist at Florida Orthopedic Center.  I saw Dr. Kenneth Gustke in February and he basically said I could continue to live in pain or have my knee replaced there were no other options left at this point.  By the way I had had numerous injections to my knees to the point they were doing them to often.  So I had my knee replacement in April 2007 and I feel so much better. Also I wanted to let you know that Dr. Gustke isn't a hack.  He has done knee and hip replacements for years and even has patents on some knee replacements out on the market.  He travels to Europe at least twice a year to teach other Doctors how to perform the replacements.  He has told me that if I take care of my knee it could last for 20 - 25 years.  I would rather have 20 - 25 good years and worry about having a revision down the road that live for another 18 years waiting to be old enough to have the first one.   I would strongly recommend a 2nd or even a 3rd opinion.  Find someone qualified.  They are out there.  Between the Gastric Bypass and the knee replacement I feel like a new person. Good luck and Best Wishes

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Susan G.
on 9/23/07 6:57 am - Boynton Beach, FL
The reason they tell you they won't replace them at your age is because they do wear out and have to be done a 2nd time 15-20 yrs. later.  Whatever you do DON"T have them done at the same time.  You need 1 good leg to stand on after surgery. I had both mine done.  1 in 1991 and the other done in 1993.  I just had to redo both of them.  On 1 knee they just had to replace some parts.  3 months later I had the other done and that was another total replacement. I had my first one done when I was your age and had it done at Cleveland Clinic.  I highly reccommend them.  I used them in Ft. Lauderdale, FL but you can also go to the one in Ohio.  They have people that come to them from all over the world and they have accommedations for family thatr comes with you, and for you to stay afterwards for Physical Therepy. They really know what they are doing and in fact they refuse to do both at one time for the reasons I mentioned. Hope this info helps you.  If you like you can e-mail at [email protected].  Good Luck. Susan
on 10/8/07 5:47 am - Bucksport, ME
Holly, I just found this board today. I had my first knee replacement 7 yeras ago I was 53 years old and over 400 lbs. I did great and was up and walking and home in less than a week. I had my 2nd knee replacement on the other knee 3 years ago at age 57 and still over 400 lbs. That was harder don't know why but sppent  3 weeks in rehab. I guess I am lucky to have had an understanding good orthopedic surgeon . Pam
on 12/9/07 2:07 pm - Victoria, Canada
So here is an update.  I have been to see another orthopedic surgeon, this one in Vancouver (a 2 hour ferry ride from my city)  and he is willing to replace both my knees at the ripe old age of 51! Now I just have about a month to get ready for the first knee and three months for the next one...  so any advice anyone has to offer would be welcome! How exciting and terrifying at the same time Holly
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