The number of hip and knee replacements performed in the US will explode in the next several decades—knee operations surging fivefold and hips doubling—as aging baby boomers opt to stay out of wheelchairs, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates. The pricetag will reach $65 billion in less than a decade, most of it borne by Medicare and Medicaid, reports Time magazine.
"We have a perfect storm of an aging population, increased demands by younger patients, a better ability to do the procedures, and increased arthritis in the general population," said an orthopedic surgeon. Also pushing the demand for new joints: the epidemic of obesity, which puts too much strain on the knees and hips. (Read more knee replacement stories.)