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How long do hip replacements last?

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Myths about hip replacements

We’re often asked how long a hip replacement will last. While results can vary, some patients can enjoy their new hip for life thanks to advancements in surgical techniques and implants.

The ‘perfect’ hip replacement

Uncemented prosthesis

To ensure a long-lasting result, Mr Shah recommends an uncemented prosthesis. Instead of using cement to adhere your implant to your hip joint, your prosthesis will be specially textured so that over time your bone will grow onto it.

An uncemented stem and socket create a stronger long-term bond with your hip bone. It, therefore, eliminates the risk of the cement breaking down over time and irritating the surrounding tissues, which will cause the implant to loosen and fail.

In rare cases, patients can react to the cement, which can result in a blood clot that travels to the lungs.

Mr Shah prefers not to use cement if possible, and most patients can benefit from an uncemented implant. However, it may not be appropriate if you have low bone density or osteoporosis.

Ceramic ball and socket

Hip implants come in a variety of materials, including metal-on-plastic, metal-on-metal, ceramic-on-plastic and ceramic-on-ceramic.

Metal-on-metal prostheses are very rarely used following reports of early deterioration and concerns they could leak traces of metal into the blood.

Metal-on-plastic prostheses are more common and feature a metal ball and plastic (polyethylene) cup. They provide reliable results and can withstand most activities. However, over time, the metal ball wears down the plastic lining, causing it to shed small particles of polyethylene.

Your body will ‘attack’ these foreign objects, resulting in inflammation and pain, and, eventually, your hip replacement will loosen and need replacing.

A ceramic-on-ceramic hip prosthesis is a more durable alternative that’s less prone to wear. Providing your implant is placed in the optimal position, it can last indefinitely and avoid the need for revision hip surgery.

The other advantage of ceramic hip replacements is that they allow us to use a larger femoral head, which reduces the risk of dislocation. If your socket was made from plastic, a larger ball would also increase the wear rate, but with ceramic-on-ceramic, this isn’t an issue.

Which hip replacement is right for you?

Mr Shah will recommend the best hip replacement for you following a comprehensive assessment. If you are young and active with healthy bones, a big ball ceramic-on-ceramic uncemented prosthesis is likely to be the ideal option.

If you are older or less active, and there is a low risk of your hip replacement wearing out, you may want to consider ceramic-on-plastic implant.

Mr Shah will discuss all your options with you in detail, along with the likelihood of revision surgery.

To arrange a private consultation or ask us any questions, contact our friendly team.

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