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Joint Replacements On The Rise

10:12 PM, Apr 27, 2007   |    comments
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By Deanna Fené First Coast News JACKSONVILLE, FL -- For Sylvia Moore, art is her life. "I usually work on two or three paintings at a time." She paints beautiful landscapes from France and travels there each year for inspiration. "What would make it more fun is if I could speak French. I keep trying." Recently she's had trouble making the annual journey because of problems with one of her knees. "The last trip I made I couldn't do the inclines. (I had to) pull myself off the steps." She's among a growing number of people who need a joint replacement. In her case, it's her knee. "It's just arthritis. The left one is getting so it wouldn't cooperate at all." The number of knee and hip replacements is expected to triple, and possibly quadruple in the next ten years in this country; and the people getting them, are getting younger and younger. Christopher Opladen is only 43, yet he has the hip of a 78-year-old man. He says "It's very painful." His bad hip is the result of an old sports injury. He's always been active. He loves to rock climb and play tennis, but now the pain is so bad he can't keep up with his kids. Opladen says, "I don't even wear shoes or sneakers any more that require ties because I can't bend over to tie them." Hip replacement surgery was his best hope to get his life back. He was actually smiling as he was wheeled into surgery at St. Vincent's Medical Center. Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Gavan Duffy specializes in knee and hip replacements. He says as baby boomers age, joint replacements will become even more common. "There's more people in that age group and they aren't willing to put up with the pain that our grandparents put up with." 50-year-old Robert Towns is part of that baby boomer generation. He had his first knee replacement at 40. Now he's getting his second. He says, "Comes from playing sports and working. Just wear and tear." Three weeks after Opladen's hip replacement surgery, he noticed a big difference. "I'm doing fantastic. The pain is totally gone." He's looking forward to playing with his kids. Opladen says, "I feel like I'm in my 20's again. I feel younger and healthier. I'm smiling a lot more." As for Sylvia Moore; she feels much better two months after her total knee replacement surgery. "Even though it's still tender, I'm not real fast yet, but it's much better then the other one. The old one." She's looking forward to a return trip to France in the fall. "If they still have room for me. I'll go." The average age for a joint replacement is 65, give or take ten years. However, Doctor Gavan Duffy says he's had patients as old as 90 and as young as 21.

First Coast News

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