Younger patients getting joint replacement surgery

Younger patients getting joint replacement surgery »Play Video

It’s not uncommon to complain about joint pain. Whether it’s in the knee, shoulder or hip, it can be debilitating.

Joint replacement surgery can often bring relief. It's common for older people, but now more younger patients are going under the knife to ease the pain.

It wasn’t that long ago Eric Stromquist couldn’t run without being in agony.

“I was miserable,” he said. “I was having no fun.”

He had debilitating pain caused by arthritis in his hips. The pain got so bad he eventually considered hip replacement surgery.

He wasn’t sure about the idea until he had a random celebrity encounter with Bo Jackson at a golf tournament. The iconic sports figure known for his ‘Bo Knows” ad campaign had gone through hip replacement surgery before and told his story to Eric.

“He says, ‘when it starts to mess up your sex life, you get it done,’” recounted Stromquist.

That’s motivation enough for any man. But at just 48 years old, Eric wasn’t your typical joint surgery candidate.

“The major disadvantage is if you live long enough, you have to have it done again,” says Dr. Ira Weintraub.

Weintraub is Stromquist’s doctor. He explained to Eric that younger patients can outlive the life-span of artificial joints.

But Weintraub is also a patient, having undergone knee replacement surgery himself.

“My cutoff was actually my golf game, when I couldn’t play golf anymore,” said Weintraub.
 
That’s the key for many patients, according to Weintraub. He said younger people would rather have surgery that could help them continue an active lifestyle.

Stromquist is a perfect example of that.

“I figured if I outlived the replacement joint, I’d consider myself fortunate and deal with it then,” he said. “I wanted to be active and pain free while I was still relatively young.”

Stromquist had his double hip replacement several years ago. He called it the best decision he’s ever made.

There is no more pain when he bikes and runs. But he deferred the question when asked if Bo Jackson saved his sex life.

“You’d have to ask my wife,” he said with a smile. “But as far as I’m concerned, yeah, Bo knows.”

If you’d like to learn more about joint replacement surgery, head to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website at www.aaos.org.