Artificial hip replacements have become increasingly common over the past 30 years. The first time a joint is replaced with an artificial one, the operation is called a primary joint replacement. As people live longer, some of those joints begin to wear out and fail. When this happens, a second operation is required, called a revision arthroplasty. The original components that need to be removed are replaced by new ones.
Hip revision surgery may be necessary for the following reasons:
- attachment between the artificial joint and the bone has become loose
- infection of the joint may cause stiffness, pain or loosening
- fracture of the bone around the joint requiring the fracture to be fixed
- instability of the implant that may cause the joint to dislocate
- wearing out of one or more parts of the implant that requires it to be changed
- breakage of the implant requires replacement
The hip revision surgeon will carefully plan the procedure. Before scheduling hip revision surgery, the surgeon may order special tests to determine the condition of your artificial joint. Preparation for surgery and the hospital experience tend to be very similar to patients experiencing their first joint replacement. However, the length of the hip revision surgery may be longer.
While hip revision surgery can be very successful, it is less predictable than the original surgery. Hip revision surgery is not routine and each one is very different and can be quite complex. The hip revision surgeon may find additional bone loss and fragility. If needed, the surgeon will rebuild the joint using special types of joint revision prostheses and possibly bone grafting. Infections usually require joint removal with a special prosthesis inserted until the infection has been cleared.
Joint replacement longevity may be affected by:
- how well you take care of yourself and your health
- activity level; some activities may compromise the life of joint replacements
- understanding and respecting the limitations of artificial joints