When opting for any form of surgery one of the first questions patients will need to understand is how long the operation will last for. It is an important consideration when weighing up the pros and cons of whether or not to opt for a surgical solution to the problem you’re suffering with, as redoing the hip is a very major operation.
Hip replacements are done in patients of all age groups and increasingly in younger patients, so knowing how long the hip will last is a major factor in deciding whether to have an operation.
Long-standing history of hip replacements
Hip replacements have been practiced by surgeons for decades, so there is a lot of data available to help answer this question. Hip replacements were first performed in the UK back in the 1960s, and due to its success rate this has become a very popular operation. In England and Wales there are now approximately 160,000 total hip and knee replacements performed each year.
According to the results of a 40-year observational study of patients at the Mayo Clinic in the USA who have had their hips replaced, looking at 2000 patient cases, the hip failed and required revision in only 13% of these.
This varies somewhat by the age of the patient, so the report helpfully breaks this down by age group to give a clearer indication of how this differs by age:
- Patients under 50: One in three required a revision
- Patients aged 50 to 59: One in five required a revision
- Patients aged 60 to 69: One in ten patients required a revision
- Patients aged over 70: One in 20 patients required a revision
So there are definite differences by age group, and this will be affected by factors such as lifestyle choices (how active or sedentary the patients are following the operation), how much stress the new joint is put under, how well the recommended physiotherapy is adhered to following the operation and the overall health and well-being of the patients.
Practice makes perfect
It is an important conclusion that the majority of patients, even in the younger age group will never need another operation on their hip.
The other consideration is that owing to the continued practice of this operation, hip replacements are getting better and more effective over time. A hip replacement operation performed now will benefit from greater knowledge and understanding of surgeons now, compared with one undertaken 40 years ago, so modern hip are likely to do even better than these figures.
The Exeter hip system
Joint replacement specialist Simon Bridle favours the “Exeter femoral stem” model of hip replacements, which are collarless polished tapered cemented hip stems, first developed at the University of Exeter. At the time of its design, scientists were grappling with how to best fix the stem to the bone.
Because the Exeter design is polished and collarless, it allows very good transfer of stress from the stem to the cement and this means that the bone is loaded and the cement is protected and allowed to last for a long time.
The authors of another Bone and Joint Journal article found that 99% of the stems were still well fixed and working at 22.8 years from the replacement. They look at the X rays and found that a “radiological review showed excellent preservation of bone stock at 20 to 25 years, and no impending failures of the stem.”
In summary, the approach of conducting total hip replacements using an Exeter stem is one that has been trusted by experts such as Mr Bridle for many years and patients can have confidence in this approach. For more information or to book an appointment, please contact us.