Can surgery help you stay in the game?

Demand for knee and hip replacement rises–

Arthritic knee crimping your tennis game? Toss it out and get a new one.

Demand for joint replacement surgery, once confined largely to patients well past retirement age, has been growing rapidly among a class of people doctors have dubbed the “young actives’’ – those in the 45 to 64 age group who are determined to stay fit.

Still, even with the rise of obesity and longer lives, public health researchers say the rate of joint replacement failures requiring revisions is about 1 percent a year, mostly in the relatively younger patients who “outlive’’ the 10-to-20-year working life spans of their replacement joints. And as technique and technology have improved, the rates of infection, dislocations, and other complications have declined.

But she added a note of caution. “What we could expect to see in the future is the people in the 45-to-64-year-old category coming back to get revisions’’ – new knee replacements in second surgeries. With any luck, the second implants could be better.

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