More and more people under the age of 60 are having hip replacement surgery. Figures published by the NHS show a 76% increase in the decade from 2004/5 to 2014/15. According to the Royal College of Surgeons this dramatic increase may be due to the fact patients are less willing to wait for surgery and also because surgeons are increasingly confident in the durability of replacement joints.
So, how long do replacement joints last? And if you have hip replacement surgery at a younger age (below 60), can you expect to have problems with your prosthetic implant later in life?
According to a study published in the well respected Lancet, patients and surgeons can expect a hip replacement to last 25 years in around 58% of patients. For more information on this particular study, you can download the PDF below.
Cemented vs Cementless Implants
Here at Carrothers Orthopaedics, in certain patients we use custom implants manufactured by Symbios.
Symbios hip implants have a custom cementless femoral stem. This means that rather than using fast-drying bone cement to ‘grout’ the joint prosthesis to the patient’s bone, the prosthesis presses into place and is specially textured to allow the bone to grow onto it and adhere to the implant over time. Both types of artificial hip implants are used commonly in the UK.
Study into Symbios custom hip implants
A peer-reviewed study, published in the orthopaedic literature, looked into the performance of Symbios custom implants over a 20-year period. It focused on 232 total hip replacements carried out on patients aged under 50 at the time of surgery.
Researchers explained why they chose to focus on patients at the younger end of the spectrum. They pointed out that the risk of needing revision surgery (to replace a worn-out implant) is generally around 5% for patients aged around 70 when they had their hip replacement.
By contrast, patients in their 50s had around a 30% chance of needing revision surgery. They suggest that, with growing demand for hip replacements, more than 50% of procedures could be carried out in patients under 65 by 2030.
The researchers used a nationally recognised and validated hip score (the Harris Hip Score) to assess performance of the hip implants. It found that 10.8% of patients needed to have revision surgery to replace their original implant.
Researchers concluded that custom implants offer good longevity and provide excellent outcomes in younger patients, restoring good levels of functionality to the joint and helping individuals lead a full and active life. Good longevity means the risk of a patient needing revision surgery is lower and as technology advances, this is only likely to improve into the future.
What the medical researchers noted following the 20-year follow up
“Taking stem revision for aseptic loosening as an endpoint, survivorship was 96.8% at 20 years”
“The results of this study confirm that THA using this custom-designed stem can provide excellent clinical and radiographical outcomes at a mean follow-up of 20 years in patients younger than 50. The individual 3D femoral stem and prosthetic neck has been able to restore extra- and intramedullary functional anatomy in this young and active cohort of patients”
From that same study, more than 75% of patients had a full recovery of their activities, almost 80% of patients felt no limitation during their usual moderate and regular physical activities and that 86% had a higher quality of life after their operation.
It is important to remember that these patients were all less than 50 years old, so they would have enjoyed high levels of activity prior to their degenerative joint condition.
Hip replacement | Cambridge
If you are considering hip replacement surgery, whatever your age, we are happy to discuss the options and advise you on the best type of treatment for your individual circumstances.
Our consultation fees are clearly presented here.
For your convenience, we offer appointments at both Nuffield Hospital Cambridge and Spire Cambridge Lea Hospital.