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New Joints for Senior Patients

When patients have painful joints such as hips or knees that continue to bother them despite non-surgical therapy, joint replacements can help tremendously – even among the elderly population. Joint replacement technology has changed significantly in recent years and is continuing to rapidly evolve. 

The bearing surface in a joint replacement, where the new metal implant articulates with the new cushion or polyethylene, is the place where  most wear and tear occurs. The components of the bearing surface, with newer technology, are now allowing these implants to have the potential to last 30 years or longer. The prosthesis is durable and will enable the joint to move in a  very similar fashion to the normal joint.

Research has shown that patients 75 and older, even into their 80s and 90s, do as well as younger pati

ents with total joint replacements and these replacements can improve their quality of life dramatically. We assess risks for surgery and recovery, and ultimately the patient’s medical condition will determine if the surgery is safe.

In order to survive into your 80s and 90s, you have to have a good heart and in most cases be medically healthy. The life span of humans, particularly women, continues to increase so that a healthy 85-year old patient with a bad knee might live another 15 years or more.  The oldest patient I’ve performed a knee replacement on was 94; her hip replacement at 98. She died at age 104 but was able to remain active, walk independently and enjoy life until she passed.

Older patients who opt to have total joint replacements can typically expect their prostheses to offer years of pain-free living and allow a more independent life style as they age.

Dr. Jeffrey Mokris is a surgeon at OrthoCarolina’s Hip & Knee Center.


I am a dancer, and have been dancing professionally for the past 17 years. I have knee problems a lot, and I worry that I will have to have a joint replacement surgery eventually. I am glad that this option is available to me if I ever need it.
- Annie
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