How Long Does a Hip Replacement Last?

Hip replacement has become a fairly standard surgery in the US today. It has benefited millions of people who would otherwise be confined to pain or immobility go on to complete recovery and regular movement.

In many cases, however, the hip doesn’t last forever and may need to be replaced in a second surgery.

When do you need a hip replacement?

Surgery is never a first option, as there are always risks. When a person begin to feel hip pain, his doctor may prescribe a treatment of medications and lubricants to relieve the symptoms.

What’s actually happening is that after years of use, the lubricating cartilage between the joints begins to wear away, creating friction in the joint area and causing chronic pain in the individual. When it’s not acute, medication and various ointments, as well as physical therapy, may help.

However, when the pain becomes acute and nothing can fully relieve the pain, your physician may recommend having a hip replacement.

How the surgery works

During a hip replacement surgery, the doctor will completely replace the hip joint with a synthetic version. This is less likely to wear down than actual bone, and is meant to serve for many years.

Short term failure

In a small minority of cases, there may be short term failure after the surgery, usually due to infection, and in that case, often because the patient’s health is poorly managed. If the patient has other health risks, such as diabetes or other illness, the short term failure rate increases, even if the actual surgery was a complete success. If this happens, the doctor will look at each individual situation separately to determine whether or not a repeat surgery would be likely to be successful.

Long term failure

Any successful hip replacement has the potential to wear down again, just like the first time. This might be because the replacement parts never completely fused with the bones, or because when the patient got back to full use of his limbs, the regular wear and tear eventually wore down the new part as well. Sometimes this happens if the person is very active, which for most health reasons is very beneficial, but may have this downside. This is not because the original surgery was no successful, but it’s just the normal was our bodies work.

In this instance, the patient needs what’s called a revision surgery, and it’s actually more complex than a regular hip replacement surgery. It also calls for a specialized surgeon.

So what’s the time frame?

In actual numbers, about 90% of hip replacement are still working well ten to fifteen years after surgery. But this data comes from implant that were put in that many years ago. Today, says orthopedic surgeon Nicolas Piuzzi, “We’ve come a long way with more durable and newer materials that are allowing the newer generation of hip and knee replacements to last longer than previous designs.” One example of this is highly cross-linked polyethylene, a material which has very long wear, and is being used today for hip replacements. There’s good reason to think that these hip replacements will last longer than previous kinds.

There are also very good statistics for robotic hip replacement surgeries, and they are lasting longer than traditional ones.

At Hudson View Rehabilitation Center, we offer excellent hip replacement rehabilitation, getting you back on your feet as quickly as possible.

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