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More under-60s getting hip replacements

More under-60s getting hip replacements
4th March 2016

Over the last decade, there has been a 76 per cent rise in the number of people under the age of 60 who are getting hip replacement operations.

According to the NHS figures, there were just 10,145 hip replacements for people in this demographic in 2004. In contrast, more than 17,800 took place on those under the age of 60 in 2014.

Speaking to the BBC, the Royal College of Surgeons said an improvement in the durability of replacement joints has been a significant factor in this increase, enabling doctors to be more confident about their long-term impact for younger patients.

The figures show that demand for hip replacements has risen in general, with 89,919 of these procedures taking place in 2004-05 and 122,154 in 2014-15. This may be because of a change in perception from both doctors and patients.

Stephen Cannon, vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said techniques and the quality of prosthetics have improved, meaning it is no longer viewed as a "last resort".

He said: "As surgeons, we now have more confidence about the wear rate of these prosthetics which allows us to be less restrictive on an age basis."

Previously, doctors would advise patients to wait until they were at least 60 before recommending them for a hip replacement, as older prosthetics would only last around 15 years.

This meant patients would need to have another operation when they were around 80, and being older increases the risk of complications during and after the procedure.

However, Mr Cannon said replacements are able to last for 20 years now, meaning many younger candidates are now being considered for the procedure.

He warned that an ageing population could mean that over the next decade demand for hip operations may "outstrip" supply.

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