Many doctors refer young, healthy patients for bilateral knee replacement under the assumption that their overall health and youth will protect them from complications. A new study suggests that may not always be the case.

Beginning in the 1990s, researchers noticed a trend in more young, healthy patients getting bilateral knee replacement surgery. Their recent study seeks to determine what these trends mean in terms of postoperative complications. The researchers found that youth did not protect patients from the problems associated with knee surgery.

They suggest that the introduction of a systematic selection process may be able to improve outcomes. New guidelines for selecting bilateral knee replacement patients will be published shortly, and it is hoped that they may help physicians appropriately select patients.

If a patient is not considered to be a good candidate for bilateral knee replacement, this will be discussed with the patient. Also, non-surgical alternatives will be discussed. For example, chiropractic care has been shown to be effective at treating knee pain. Chiropractic treatments do not carry the potential complications of surgery, and may be safely used on patients of all ages, and on many patients who are not medically-able to undergo knee replacement surgery.


Memtsoudis SG, Mantilla CB, et al. Have Bilateral Total Knee Arthroplasties Become Safer?: A Population-Based Trend Analysis. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 2012;doi: 10.1007/s11999-012-2608-9.

Youth and Health No Safety Guarantee in Bilateral Knee Replacement. Musculoskeletal Network. October 1, 2012. Accessed October 15, 2012.