How Long do Hip Replacements Last?

woman running through woodsOver time, the materials used to form the new bearing surface in a hip replacement will rub against one another, resulting in wear and tear. They can also become loosened, especially if you’re fairly active. Traditionally, hip implants lasted between 15 and 20 years. Modern hip bearing surfaces have become more durable and may last a lifetime of normal use.

The following are some of the factors that help determine how long a hip replacement will last:

Awareness of potential early Post-Op problems

Notify your doctor if you have any signs of a potential problem with your new hip replacement, including drainage from the wound, tenderness, or swelling. Tenderness or swelling in your thigh, calf, ankle, or foot should also be reported to your doctor.

Age

Hip replacements are now more commonly performed in younger people. This may raise the risk of developing implant bearing wear and tear within the joint over time. If you receive a hip replacement when you’re relatively young, chances are, it may need a revision in the distant future. Part of the reason is due to younger hip replacement patients being more active, as a result, generally putting more wear and tear on the new joint compared with older, less active patients having the same procedure performed.

Choice of activities

Some high-impact activities, such as jogging, running, basketball, and tennis, may cause your new hip to wear out, especially if you engage in them frequently. You may want to switch to other activities that can still increase your muscle strength and help your cardiovascular system without placing as much stress on your hip replacement; these include “low-impact” exercises such as walking, hiking, swimming, and bicycling.

Weight

If you’re carrying extra weight, you’re putting more stress on your hip replacement. Losing weight can aid in making your implant last longer and also improve your general health.

Dental procedures

While surgeons have traditionally instructed joint replacement patients to take antibiotics before dental cleanings in the past, this is no longer the general rule. Only patients at high risk for an infection (such as those with HIV, or who have immune system compromise from cancer treatment or kidney transplants, etc) should routinely take oral antibiotics before dental cleanings. All patients should maintain regular oral hygiene; daily brushing and flossing of the teeth are strongly recommended to prevent infections and other oral health problems.

Surgical procedures

Make sure all of your doctors know about your hip replacement. If you do have an invasive surgical procedure performed, such as a breast biopsy or an appendix surgery, – you will need to be given IV antibiotics to help prevent bacteria getting into your joint replacement and causing an infection.

If you have questions about hip replacements, make an appointment today with Dr. Rubin at one of his three convenient Connecticut offices. Dr. Rubin specializes in adult reconstruction surgery, including hip replacement and revision procedures; making him an expert in a minimally invasive, direct anterior approach to total hip replacement and has co-authored the first comprehensive textbook on the subject.

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