Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum Explains the Recent Rise in Joint Replacement Surgeries

In the United States, joint replacement surgeries are some of the most common elective procedures. According to a recent study conducted by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the average age of joint replacement patients is decreasing and becoming more common among men today. This study was highlighted at a recent meeting with surgeons from around the world. Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum, Director of Orthopaedics at Bronxcare Health System regularly performs these surgeries on patients and works with other orthopedic surgeons who specialize in this area.

As an expert in the field, Dr. Kirschenbaum studied at Brown University and earned his medical degree from Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He earned credentials at Philadelphia’s Rothman Institute. Dr. Kirschenbaum received special training for joint replacement surgeries and is a member of multiple associations. In addition to clinical topics, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum lectures and writes about information technology, process management and process re-engineering in the medical field.


Age Factors Of Joint Replacement Surgeries


According to the study, “Changing Demographics in Primary and Revision Total Joint Arthroplasty, 2000-2014” by Dr. Matthew Sloan and Neil P Sheth. The average age of joint replacement patients is now 65. This was a decrease from 66 the year before. The report also included statistics about different types of joint replacement surgeries. For knee replacements, the average age of patients decreased from 68 to 66. While these decreases are small, they indicate a rise in other types of problems. One of the study’s co-authors stated that the age decrease may be attributed to the world’s rising rate of obesity. Also, he suggested that part of the decrease may be due to increased access to care for people who want to stay active longer. Today, many people stay active even after they retire.


Shifts In Joint Replacement Surgeries


Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum recently shared some information about the history of orthopedics. The history of total joint replacement dates back to the 1890s. At that time, surgeons replaced the ball of a hip joint. Sir John Charnley developed the modern technique for total hip replacement surgery in England in the 1960s. While surgeons in the 1900s dabbled with knee replacements, those procedures did not gain popularity until the 1970s.


With total joint replacement, the parts of a joint with arthritis are removed. Those parts are replaced by plastic, ceramic or metal implants. The replacement parts replicate the size, shape and movement abilities of the natural joint components. Shoulders, knees, and hips are the most common joints that require replacements. However, ankles, wrists, and elbows can be replaced as well. There are about 700,000 knee replacement surgeries in the United States every year, and hip replacement operations total about 400,000 annually.


In the past, joint replacement surgeries were riskier and came with longer recovery periods. Today, some of these surgeries are performed as outpatient procedures. However, joint replacements are not designed to last forever. They must be replaced or revised over time. Revision surgeries are more complex and often require the rebuilding of bone in addition to removing or replacing an implant. Since these surgeries require precision and are more involved, they do not have as High of success rates as original surgeries. As a rule, modern joint replacement implants are supposed to last about 20 years. In some cases, they may last longer.


Factors Related To Joint Replacement Surgeries


Dr. Ira Kirschenabum encourages his patients to live healthier after joint replacement surgery. One of the biggest contributors to joint damage and pain is obesity. According to the study, people with end-stage arthritis were commonly referred for joint replacement surgery. The statistics in the study showed that women had higher rates of arthritis than men. This may be due to anatomical differences. However, the number of men who required first and revision knee replacement surgeries rose significantly during the past several years. The study also showed that 54 percent of patients who had total hip replacements were obese, and nearly 80 percent of patients who required total knee replacements were obese. These statistics included people who were moderately obese or morbidly obese.


Injuries also contribute to the rising number of joint replacement surgeries. Some patients have sports injuries that lead to severe joint damage. Many younger people are active in high school, college and recreational sports leagues now. With people maintaining active lifestyles throughout adulthood, the number of activity related injuries is rising. Also, many sports injuries cause arthritis, which develops over the span of several years or decades.


In the past, most people were not as active during their retirement years. Many modern people expect to be able to maintain an active lifestyle well past 70 years of age. People today who see their friends limping one month may later see them moving normally several months after they have joint replacement surgery. Since joint replacement surgery techniques have improved, doctors have gained more confidence in performing operations. Implants have also become more durable over time with new and improved designs. In addition to performing thousands of successful joint replacement surgeries, Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum was instrumental in developing some well-known joint replacement systems. His innovation has made him a trusted name in the world of orthopedic surgery.


Modern doctors see joint replacements differently than doctors of the past saw them. In the past, people were often told that replacements were unnecessary if they could still walk. However, doctors today who see problems that will worsen in the future may tell a patient to have surgery soon. If a patient waits until the future, the individual may have other problems that will complicate or hinder an elective surgery. The only downside to the increase in joint replacement surgeries is their costs. However, the good news is that regulators are looking for ways to reduce these procedure costs, which are some of the most expensive elective surgeries. The regulators are trying to ensure that costs are not so low that they hurt facilities and not so high that they bankrupt patients.


Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum is a proponent of more affordable costs for joint replacements. He had his own solo practice for joint replacement surgeries, where he averaged about 500 operations annually. Dr. Kirschenbaum also worked for several other notable organizations and held distinguished leadership roles. As the orthopedic department’s chairman at BronxCare Health System, Dr. Kirschenbaum ensures that the facility’s surgeons uphold the highest standards. He specializes in shoulder, knee and hip replacements. He has also spread valuable medical information electronically. Dr. Kirschenbaum was one of several medical professionals Who collaboratively founded the Medscape website, and the group later sold it to WebMD. He also served as a community health editor for WebMD.

In addition, Dr. Kirshenbaum serves as the Chief Medical Officer for DTC Healthcom and as a Managing Partner for Sprocket Health. He has been a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeon since 1991 and has been on the Board of Directors for the EHR Project Team since 2010.

With changes occurring every day in the medical field, the role of dedicated medical professionals is crucial. Dr. Ira Kirschenbaum is one among many focused surgeons that care about the future of innovative technological developments in this field. Read more


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