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More than one-third of Americans report being affected by knee pain. Knee replacement surgery can offer relief, but the implants only last between 12 and 15 years. Patients under the age of 40 aren’t usually considered good candidates for the procedure because they would need too many revision operations. Now, a simple surgery that’s saving knees in younger patients.

Today, nurse Kirstin Kent can walk, climb, and lift without a problem. But a year ago, severe knee pain prevented her from doing her job.

“I would go and sit in my office, and I wouldn’t get up much. And I kept telling people I’m not lazy, I’m just in too much pain to get up and move,” Kirstin Kent

An injury that happened when she was a teen caused a loss of cartilage in her 30s.

“It was just that deep bone pain, like grinding, like bone on bone,” said Kent.

She tried drugs, therapy, injections and even had her knee re-aligned. Doctors told her a knee replacement could offer lasting relief, but she was too young.