Hip Surgery, Knee Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery

May 7, 2015

3 Reasons Why Hip and Knee Implants Require Revision Surgery


When you take advantage of a knee or hip replacement surgery to decrease your pain and increase your mobility, you make an investment in your quality of life.

There are more than 400,000 knee and hip replacements performed each year in the United States. In 90% of cases, the implants work well for their life expectancy of 10 to 20 years. After that, you may need to undergo another procedure to replace your knee or hip implant, this is called a joint revision surgery.

Why Do Joint Replacements Need Revision Surgery?
There are several common reasons why implants need to be revised, most often stemming from the age of the implant, development of scar tissue, and bone loss as a result of surgery. If you experience any kind of joint pain, this could be a sign that your implant has loosened, become infected, or aged. These are all reasons why you will need a joint revision surgery:

1. Loosening
During surgery, hip or knee implants are firmly fixed to the bone in order to restore your range of motion. For this reason, joint implants are expected to stay in place and function well for 10 to 20 years.

Loosening is the most common reason for joint implant revision, occurring when your knee or hip implant has moved to some degree away from their the position where your surgeon placed it.

The friction of the joint surfaces rubbing together as you walk can cause your implant to wear. This weakens the joint and can cause the bone to fracture or lose contact with your implant. If you develop hip or knee pain and feel like your joint is unstable, you will need a joint revision surgery to address the deficiency.

2. Infection
It is very important to take antibiotics before and after your joint replacement surgery, as directed by your surgeon. An artificial joint is a prime target for infection even if it started somewhere else in your body.

3. Age
Older patients with inflammatory arthritis are at a higher risk for loosening, but a lower risk for dislocation, as they tend to be less active. Younger or more active patients place more stress on the joint implant, which can cause dislocations and loosening. But in any case, no matter your age, once the implant reaches its life expectancy, it will need to be replaced.

If you experience any sign of needing a new joint replacement revision, visit your doctor to confirm your diagnosis through x-rays and a physical examination. Because revision surgery can be more complicated than the initial replacement surgery, the risk of complications will increase.

To learn more about how a joint revision surgery is performed, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at (800) 901-0307 and schedule a consultation with one of our renowned orthopedic surgeons.

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