When you’re considering hip replacement as a more permanent solution to hip pain, this is usually the top question on most people’s minds. Fortunately, we have had a fairly recent influx of data from 60,000 hip replacements that give us a better idea of what we can expect:
- After 5 years, 2% required revision.
- After 10 years, 4.4% required revision
- After 20 years, 15% required revision.
- After 25 years, 42% required revision.
These numbers are slightly higher than for knee replacements. 85 percent of joints lasting at least 20 years is actually pretty impressive. But as physicians, we believe the 15 percent getting the short end of the stick is still a pretty big problem. Revision surgery is much more invasive, costly and difficult to recover from. So, we want to avoid it if at all possible.
Within those overall numbers, we know about several factors could influence how long a new hip joint will last.
- Skill of the surgeon and operating facility: these play a large role. OrthoNebraska Hospital’s deep/organ space hip and knee infection rate of 0.37 percent is less than half of many other hospitals in the region. Our advantage is that nearly everyone having surgery at our hospital is generally healthy. Other hospitals may perform surgery on individuals with severe illnesses. This lowers the collective infection risk. In addition, OrthoNebraska’s surgical team has so many years of orthopaedic experience that our dislocation and malposition rates – other complications that can arise during surgery – are quite low as well.
- Age: we know that someone who is 70 at the time of the replacement has only a 5 percent chance of needing a revision, but someone who is in their early 50s has about a 35 percent chance of revision.
- Weight and activity level: related to age, but someone who is more active or weighs more will potentially wear out their joint replacement more quickly.
- Ongoing treatment and care: someone who is careful to manage the stress on their hip and has regular follow up care with their physician will most likely extend the life of their joint.
- Technology: because the numbers we have are from older models, we can reasonably expect that newer implant technology will lead to replacements lasting long. How much is really up in the air.