Medically reviewed by
Dr. Chad Thurman
Since Orthopedic Surgeons began implanting metal joints in the knee and hip, they have cautioned their patients that it may not be a “lifetime” fix for the pain and lack of mobility due to osteoarthritis, especially as younger and younger patients sought joint replacements. However, new research gives more hope for a longer useful life of a total joint replacement than anticipated.
“Orthopedic surgeons generally tell their patients that their metal knee or hip joint replacement is ‘designed to last’ 10-15 years, some 20+ years,” says McLeod Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Chad Thurman. “Now for the first time, research published in the medical journal The Lancetconfirms the useful life of a joint replacement is as good as — or might be even better than — we hoped.”
THE SURVEY SAID…
Researchers looked at 500,000 joint replacements over a 25-year period. What they found on hip replacements was:
· Almost 90% lasted 15 years
· 70% lasted 20 years
· 60% lasted 25 years
On knee replacements, they found even better results:
· 93% lasted 15 years
· 90% lasted 20 years
· 82% lasted 25 years
In short, as one of the researchers noted, “Given the improvement in technology and technique in the last 25 years, we expect that hip or knee replacements put in today may last even longer.”
A recent review from the International Hip Society shows that with new plastic liners, revision rates for hip replacements at 15 years are less than 5%. Furthermore, revisions due to the implant wearing out have virtually been eliminated at the 15-year mark.
Also contributing to the longer-than-expected life of total joint replacements are improvements in pain management, efforts to get patients moving quickly after surgery, and physical therapy.
ACTION YOU CAN TAKE
These findings reinforce the ability of today’s knee and hip joint replacements to help people stay active and live a fuller life longer. If you are experiencing pain in in your knees or hip that’s affecting your daily life, see an Orthopedic Specialist.
Sources include: McLeod Health, The Lancet, Annals of Rheumatic Disease, Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research, Harvard Health, New England Journal of Medicine Journal Watch, International Hip Society