hip implant longevity

Undergoing a hip implant procedure can be daunting. However, the surgery can help patients to drastically improve their quality of life. Like any surgery, a hip implant doesn’t come without its risks and complications. It is important to be aware of the pros and cons before deciding whether or not it is the right option for you.

One factor to consider is how long a hip implant will last. Here, we will look at the factors which impact hip implant longevity.

What impacts the wear rate of hip implants?

Recent data shows that the majority of hip implants can last up to 25 years. However, there are a lot of factors which can impact the wear rate of hip implants. In a recent study, engineers from the Rice University looked to identify how well implants stand up throughout their expected lifecycle.  They discovered wear debris is the main cause of long-term implant failure.

Wear debris consists of tiny particles from the bearing (the moving parts), which mix with the synovial fluid. The body reacts to this debris with an inflammatory response, which can eventually damage to bone and lead to loosening of the implant. There are a number of things which can contribute towards wear debris including:

  • The position the components are placed
  • The properties of the bearing material
  • Activity levels of the patient

The position the components are placed, and the properties of the bearing material pose the largest risk. It is only to a small degree that patient activity levels can potentially contribute.

Some materials are known to have a lower risk than others. For example, Mr Simon Bridle uses a X3 Polyethylene (Stryker), which is known to have a very low wear rate. In terms of the position components are placed, using MAKO robotic assistance has been demonstrated to increase the accuracy of component position and it is hoped that this will further reduce the wear rate.

While patient activity levels don’t appear to be as important, Mr Bridle advises that some activities should be avoided. For example, patients should avoid long distance running and other extended repetitive impact exercises. Most sporting activities on the other hand are absolutely safe to carry out and are encouraged for people’s general wellbeing.

Are hip implants suitable for younger patients?

Due to the risk of wear and tear, younger patients may worry about undergoing a hip implant. It is worth noting that modern hip implants are likely to last much longer than older implants.  The best way to give the hip the best chance of getting people back to normal activity and lasting a long time is to use tried and trusted implants, with low wear bearings and putting them in as accurately as possible.

Prior to carrying out a hip implant procedure, Mr Bridle will consider all risk factors relating to the specific patient. All risks and complications will then be discussed to allow the patient to make the best decision to fit their circumstances. Call 020 8947 9524 to arrange a consultation with Mr Simon Bridle at his London hip clinic.