If you’re among the hundreds of thousands of Americans contemplating knee or hip surgery this year, you likely have a myriad of questions and concerns about having this type of work performed. For starters, hip or knee replacement operations are quite common and they are designed to drastically improve the quality of life of patients who are having trouble with their mobility for a variety of reasons.
As with any type of surgery, there are some risks to consider and the recovery times are not insignificant, with some patients dealing with rehabilitation periods lasting three to nine months depending on the extent of the work being done. It’s also no secret that these types of operations represent a major financial expense.
With so many factors involved, it’s no wonder that patients should only want to go through this procedure just once. This leads many to ask how long the replacement will last and it has them wondering if this is something they will need to do again in a relatively short period of time.
Deciding on Surgery
Due to the nature of knee or hip surgery and the discomfort and recovery time involved, patients will often need to take some to consider if this is something that will truly improve their quality of life. Most sufferers of arthritis or damaged joints will typically have substantial difficulty doing the simplest things that we take for granted.
Walking, bending, even sitting and sleeping can all be painful endeavors that negatively affect how you live and when non-invasive treatments are unable to minimize the discomfort, then surgery is the next step.
Ortho Virginia understands that this is no small decision being made and we are here to help you gather all of the information necessary to better inform you towards making that choice with confidence.
Here are some of the facts:
A knee or hip replacement surgery may not be successful at first. There are a number of things that could happen or go wrong, in which case a revision surgery would have to be performed. This second procedure is usually more of a challenge with a lower chance of success and a lengthier recovery time.
For those operations that are considered a success on the first go-around, there is no specific assurance that you won’t need another procedure on the same joint at some point in the future. A new hip or knee joint may require further surgery down the line, not necessarily corrective in nature, but depending on how old you are at the time of the operation, you may need to have the joint worked on again.
Much of that is based on certain factors of the patient, not just age but how active they are on a regular basis and their body weight. If you are overweight, even by a few pounds, your doctor may insist that you lose some of the girth before the operation is performed. He or she may also put you on an exercise regimen that will help assist you in that goal while increasing the amount of activity you get each week.
Both of these things can make your surgery more effective over the long term and with today’s knee and hip replacement procedures showing higher rates of success, you can rest assured that following your doctor’s orders can be instrumental in helping your knee or hip replacement last longer.
How Long Do Replacements Last?
While no two patients are exactly the same and some procedures have a greater rate of success than others, it’s tough to put a round number on how long your knee or hip replacement will last. For some it could be as many as 20 years, for others it might be as little as 10. The good news is that these estimates are always changing due to the advancements in medical technology.
These numbers are based on the current data for the annual failure rates of these types of surgeries. When you consider the recent statistics for the success of these operations, it’s much easier to get a sense of how long your joint will last. The failure rate for knee and hip replacement is somewhere between 0.5% and 1%.
For patients who are ideal candidates for these types of procedures, the odds are good that 10 to 20 years of longevity is a realistic estimate. Additional contributing factors to improve those odds are the materials with which the artificial joint has been manufactured. These devices are available in a variety of metals and plastics, each one better suited for the type of procedure being performed.