A common question asked during a knee or hip replacement consultation is how long will my artificial joint last. With growing numbers of younger, more active men and women presenting with joint pain and lack of mobility due to wear and tear, the potential hip replacement longevity has never been so important.
Previously thought to last 15 to 20 years, continuing development of implant materials, prosthesis design and improvement in surgical technique, means that your new hips and knees may last considerably longer. This has been confirmed by a large-scale study that has recently carried out by the University of Bristol.
Up till now, there has been limited data on the longevity of artificial joints, so London hip replacement expert Mr Simon Bridle welcomes this study. Its findings will help him provide more definitive data when assisting patients to make the decision as to whether to go ahead or not with surgery.
Hip replacement longevity examined
Published in the Lancet, the researchers analysed 25 years’ worth of operations, performed on over 500,000 patients. Lead study author and research fellow at Bristol Medical School, Dr Jonathan Evans said: “At best, the NHS has only been able to say how long replacements are designed to last, rather than referring to actual evidence from multiple patients’ experiences of joint replacement surgery.”
The study discovered the following:
- Hip replacement: 89% lasted 15 years, 70% lasted 20 years and 58% lasted 25 years
- Total knee replacements: 93% lasted 15 years, 90% lasted 20 years and 82% lasted 25 years
- Partial knee replacements: 77% lasted 15 years, 72% lasted 20 years and 70% lasted 25 years
Interestingly, the UK joint replacement registry data didn’t go back far enough to be used in the study, so the researchers looked at data from Australia, Finland, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. However, they confirmed that their findings mirrored results from previous smaller-scale studies carried out in the UK.
Inevitably this data relates to the performance of joint replacements using older implants and materials. There have been considerable advances in implant technology over the years, in particular with bearings with a far lower wear rate, so there is every hope that hip and knee replacements put in today will do even better than this study suggests.
As the population ages and lives longer, combined with a growth in younger patients that are experiencing increased joint wear and tear, the news that our hip or knee replacements will last longer and require fewer repeat operations is great news.