How much does it hurt? That’s something to ask yourself before committing to a full knee replacement. Why? Because researchers at the Commonwealth University of Virginia are convinced that knee replacement provides “minimal effects on quality of life,” and that patients with less severe symptoms don’t gain enough to justify the cost, let alone the pain. HealthDay reports on the research, which analyzed data from nearly 4,500 patients aged 45 to 79 who had knee replacements because of arthritis — age-related degeneration — or a high risk of it. The patients’ average age was 61, and they had been tracked for nine years. The study did show improvement in pain, stiffness and physical functioning during daily activities, but patients with less severe symptoms before surgery experienced considerably less improvement. And, the researchers warn, prior research has found that up to one-third of patients experience chronic pain after knee replacement. The bottom line: Anyone considering knee replacement should really think it through; they should ask a lot of questions.