Modern replacements generally work well and are very durable. Failure rate is very low and most of them will last 20 years. However, there is a small failure rate and a revision of the old replacement may eventually be required.
Failure is usually associated with pain, which gradually gets worse. It is therefore essential that you see your surgeon, if you have persistent pain after a knee/hip replacement.
Causes of failure include:
- Aseptic or Mechanical loosening (gradual wear and loosening)
- Previous improper positioning or alignment of prosthesis, leading to early loosening
- Fractures around the knee replacement
- Breakage of prosthesis due to injury
Revision surgery is a specialized surgery requiring great skill and experience on the part of your surgeon. Results are very satisfactory, as modern revision implants have been very thoughtfully designed.
Unfortunately, revision surgery is very expensive and can cost the patient two to three times that of their primary replacement surgery.
Therefore, getting your knee replacement right in the first time from a good surgeon is essential to prevent later problems.
Case Study – Successful revision surgery of the hip
This lady was 32 years old when she had a semi (half) hip replacement done by a less experienced surgeon. She could never walk after surgery. She came to us in a wheelchair. She was in a great deal of pain and very depressed as her life and career seemed to have come to an end.
Her bones were very fragile and Dr. Udai Prakash took on this highly delicate procedure to remove the old locally made implant and replace it with a stronger well-designed implant from America. A year after the primary surgery, she underwent a revision surgery at the erstwhile Udai Clinic. Within 3 months she was walking pain-free. A few more months later, she had a normal walking pattern and no limp. A few more months later, she could sit on the floor and a couple of years later, she could also dance. Thirteen years later, she remains well and pain-free. She doesn’t feel she has an artificial hip and has what we call a “forgotten hip”.