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Joint Replacement Replacements
Knowledge Center

Joint Replacement Replacements

August 10, 2019
Older woman wearing knee brace after knee replacement surgery.

Total joint replacement is a surgical procedure in which parts of an arthritic or damaged joint are removed and replaced with a metal, plastic or ceramic device called a prosthesis. The prosthesis is designed to replicate the movement of a normal, healthy joint. Joint replacement replacements are performed when the first replacement fails in the short or long term for a variety of reasons.

 

How long should a joint replacement last?

It’s difficult to predict a new joint’s longevity because it takes a decade or more to collect data on past replacement surgeries to predict the success of future surgeries. People in their 50s and 60s are getting more and more joint replacements. A person with a life expectancy of 30 years is more likely to need a joint replacement than a person with a life expectancy of 15 years.

The results of a recent study were published in the April 2017 edition of the medical journal The Lancet, which provides data on knee and hip replacement longevity:

  • Among more than 60,000 people who had a hip replacement, only 4.4% required revision surgery in the first 10 years after surgery, but by the 20-year mark, 15% required revision.
  • Among nearly 55,000 people who had a knee replacement, only 3.9% required revision surgery within 10 years of surgery; by 20 years, 10.3% required revision.
  • Of those over 70 having hip or knee replacement, the lifetime risk of having a second operation on the replaced joints was about 5%.1

 

The cause of a joint replacement failure and loosening of the implant is not always clear, but high-impact activities, a fracture around the replaced joint, infection, excessive body weight, and wear and tear over time of the components of the implant are all factors that may contribute to the need for a joint replacement replacement.

Revision procedures remove and replace one or all of the original components with specialized implants. The DOC surgeon prepares the bone surfaces for the revision implant. If there is significant bone loss around the joint, metal pieces or a bone graft can be added to make up for the bony deficits. Replacement surgery is a longer, more complex procedure that requires extensive planning and customized implants. The objective of joint revision surgery is to provide another 20 years of relief from pain and disability.

Sources

How Long Do Hip and Knee Replacements Last? | Journal Watch

How Long Will My Hip or Knee Replacement Last | Harvard Health

How Long Does a Hip or Knee Replacement Last | Cleveland Clinic

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