My orthopedic surgeon says to expect 10 to 15 years out of my new hip replacement. That doesn't seem like much since I'm only 65 and longevity runs in the family. If my parents are any indication, I could live well into my 90s. Is there any way I can squeeze a few extra years out of my hip replacement?
Your surgeon is giving you the typical average lifespan of a joint replacement. For some people, it's less while for others it can be longer. There are more than a few cases where people report excellent results 20 to 25 years later!
But the truth is that even with today's modern improvements in hip replacements, active adults and overweight patients have a greater chance of creating wear and tear on the implant resulting in its eventual failure.
Sometimes, it's just a matter of replacing the liner -- that can be a fairly simple revision surgery. There is a polyethylene (plastic) liner that goes inside the hip socket. The head of the femur fits into the liner. The liner or insert helps absorb impact on the implant so it must be as durable as possible.
Extensive wear of the liner or insert can result in failure of the entire implant, the release of debris into the joint, and osteolysis (bone loss). Too much wear of the liner or insert can result in the need for a revision surgery to remove the worn liner or insert and to replace it with a new liner or insert.
Liner wear is one of the most common problems. Other complications include heterotopic ossification (HO) (formation of bone in the muscles and soft tissues around the joint), hip dislocations, bone fractures around the implant, infections, and deep vein thrombosis (DVTs or blood clots). Any of these complications can put you at risk for early implant failure.
How can you squeeze out a few more years? Stay active but don't overdo. Running marathons (or other similar repetitive motions) will definitely increase the risk of wear and tear on the implant. It's not indestructible.
If you are overweight, take measures to lose a few pounds. Your surgeon may be able to offer other suggestions based on the type of implant you have and the surgical technique used to insert it. Don't hesitate to ask him or her this same question.
P. B. Witte, MD, BSc, R. et al. Mid-Term Results of Total Hip Arthroplasty with the CementLess Spotorno (CLS) System. In The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. July 6, 2011. Vol. 93-A. No. 13. Pp. 1249-1255.
*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.