Joint replacement surgery has progressed immensely over the last 40 years.
New technologies involve new materials that are better suited for the stresses and strains imposed in the human body. Our experience over the years has taught us new techniques to better place implants.
The best news for patients is that joint replacements inserted today will last much longer than 20 years.
The reality is, however, some joint replacements wear out and need to be revised (replaced) (revision joint replacement).
The reasons for this include:
- old technologies used in the past, say 15-25 years ago, have become loose or worn out.
- older plastics previously used in hip replacements were not as suited for the role as the newer ones.
- newer bearing surfaces including ceramic or modern plastics show much less wear rates and hence the potential for much longer survival in the body.
Other causes for joint replacement failure include fracture and infections.
Commonly patients who undergo joint replacement surgery are elderly and if they subsequently fall, there is a real likelihood they will fracture the bones around the joint replacement. This usually requires further surgery to stabilize the bone fracture and possibly revise the joint replacement.
Revision joint replacement is often a more complex procedure than an initial (or primary) operation. The exposure and the removal of implants can be very difficult. Correct choice of new implants to insert is also complex.
Revision joint replacement operations are more complex and are associated with more risks and complications. For revision hip surgery dislocation, fracture and infection are more common than in primary hip replacement surgery.
Surgeons require specific skills to perform these operations. Our surgeons at OrthoNorth are well trained and experienced in these techniques to provide our patients with the best chance of success in these difficult situations.