Joint replacements help to reduce pain from arthritic joints, however these artificial joints can wear out overtime, break, or become infected. We can assess your joint replacement and determine if additional surgery is necessary to improve function and reduce pain.
After arthroplasty, the vast majority of patients do well for years to come. However, overtime these joints can wear out from use, loosen as soft tissues relax, or become infected. Improvements in the implants over the past decade have shown reduced rates of wear and results are showing the implants lasting longer and longer. Most joints have a 10-15 year wear rate, and recent studies are hinting for potentially even longer results.
When a joint becomes infected, in order to rid the infection further surgery and removal of the implants is necessary to clear the infection. When the implant is removed, it is initially replaced with an antibiotic cement temporary implant. After the temporary antibiotic spacer is placed, the patient is treated with six or more weeks of intravenous antibiotic with the help of infectious disease doctors. After clearance of the infection is confirmed, the antibiotic temporary implant can be removed and a new metal implant replaced.
In general, statistics show that knee and hip replacements will last 10 to 20 years for 90% of patients. The likelihood of needing a revision grows as time passes. One survey examining patient registries of hip and knee replacement patients found an average revision rate of 6% after 5 years and 12% after 10 years.1
Here are the main problems that can occur after a joint replacement to trigger a need for revision surgery:
Revision surgeries are more complex and have higher rates of post-surgery complications than first-time joint replacements. It’s important that revision surgeries are done by surgeons with skill and experience in that type of surgery.
Because of this, surgeons and patients alike have to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of joint replacements for younger patients. This also means that non-surgical treatment for joint pain or problems following a replacement should be considered before pursuing a revision surgery.
Fortunately, most people can still have a successful revision surgery that leads to years of activity and good joint function.
-Revision rates after total joint replacement: cumulative results from worldwide joint register datasets. J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2011 Mar;93(3):293-7.