SYDNEY - More Australians are electing to go under the knife for hip and knee replacements, with the total number of procedures hitting 80,000 a year for the first time.
The Australian Orthopaedic Association recorded 44,500 knee replacements and 36,000 hip replacements last year, a rise of almost 8 per cent on the previous year.
Most of the procedures were carried out in private hospitals, with 68 per cent of all knee replacements and more than half of hip replacements performed for privately insured patients, according to the association's registry.
The association's president-elect, Dr Graham Mercer, said the number of people under 55 having the surgeries had risen in the past five years.
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"It's a lifestyle thing," Mercer said.
"The main reasons for having a joint replacement are failed alternative treatments, and the intrusion into their lifestyle [from hip or knee pain] is significant. The one thing that really drives people to joint replacement is severe night pain despite medication and other treatments."
During last year the number of knee replacements rose by 9.4 per cent and the number of hip replacements by 6 per cent.