Baby boomers and nicotine consumption boost hip and knee replacements

Baby Boomers and smokers at high risk of joint pain.
Published: Mar. 23, 2023 at 1:28 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - The amount of hip and knee replacements jumped 14% from 2021 to 2022. Medical specialists claim it is too soon to calculate the trend of this year.

The National Institute of Health says American surgeons perform over 2 million hip and knee replacements a year. I went to a Great Basin Orthopaedics facility and Dr. Jessell Owens reports baby boomers are responsible for the recent uptick.

“The major increase is the aging of the population in the US,” said Dr. Owens. “The Boomers are turning into their 60′s and 70′s and those are the people that actually need their hip and knee replacements.”

Aside from the natural breakdown of joints from aging, nicotine users are at a higher risk for an early onset of joint pain, deep infections to wounds and an increase in inflammation. Dr. Owens expressed the importance of a clean diet and weight loss but nicotine consumption remains at the forefront.

“Nicotine itself is the problem. A lot of people will say, well I’ll quit smoking and I’ll use vape,” claimed Dr. Owens. “Unfortunately nicotine also exists in vape and nicotine decreases your ability to heal. In general when we do a hip or knee replacement the risk of infection is about 1%.”

That 1 percent does sound minor but think of it this way. On a larger scale that is 100 infections out of 10,000 surgeries. Now that person has to undergo long-term hospital stays, antibiotics and more surgeries.