Durability of Hip Implants: How Long Do Hip Replacements Last?

The short answer is hip implants generally last between 15 and 20 years but often much longer. There are many still active patients whose hip prostheses were put in as long as 30-40 years ago! The important factors to consider are the condition of the patient (osteoporosis or other bone conditions), general physical health and ability to exercise, be active and maintain a good weight.

In an artificial hip, the implant materials will eventually rub and wear against one another. Because of the ‘ball in socket’ structure of the hip joint, the wear of the ball against the cup results in a degree of friction and this can cause wear. In a metal or ceramic cup this is not such a problem but with a plastic cup, this can cause problems which might require the cup to be replaced. However, the greatest problem in joint replacement is loosening and this might be encouraged to occur if the patient is very active, especially with weights or high impact activities like running, basketball, and racquetball.

After a hip replacement patient has achieved long-term recovery, he or she is advised to avoid such activities. Swimming, walking and cycling are often recommended ways to integrate physical exercise into the everyday life of a hip replacement patient.

As with knee replacements, surgeons have not historically performed total hip replacements on younger patients. This is largely due to the typically more active lifestyles of younger and even older patients, the better diagnosis of birth or childhood hip conditions and to a longer life expectancy generally .

When problems to occur resulting in a loose or painful implant, your surgeon can consider a second implant surgery. This is certainly possible and not uncommon.

image credit: ColinBroug

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