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Knee replacements on rise

The demand for total knee replacements in the Medicare population is increasing significantly, according to a 20-year analysis of demand for the procedure, also known as total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

The research, published in the Sept. 26 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that the number of TKAs more than doubled from 1991 to 2010. Researchers suggest that the increased demand is due partly to an expanding pool of older adults and a desire by older adults to maintain a more active lifestyle that is possible only if arthritic knees are replaced.

Researchers noted that the rising demand for TKAs will add substantially to national health care costs, as the procedure costs about $15,000.

Harvard Health Letters