Mr Matthew Gee MBBS, BSC, MSC, FRCS (Tr&Orth) Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Revision Hip Replacement

Revision hip replacements are performed when the artificial joint inserted during total hip replacement surgery needs to be replaced. Repeat procedures are sometimes needed because the prosthetic is damaged, but are more often carried out when the artificial hip has worn out.

Who Should Consider Revision Hip Replacement?

Revision hip replacement surgery may be needed after a hip replacement if the artificial joint needs to be replaced. Artificial hips are usually designed to last for at least 15 years, which means that they may need to be replaced at some point. How long the hip lasts will depend on the type of prosthetic that was used and how well it has endured. In some cases, the hip may need to be replaced sooner because one or more surfaces has worn out, one or more components has become loose or because of infection or recurrent dislocation.

The Procedure

The revision hip replacement procedure will be performed in the same way as your original hip replacement surgery. The only difference is that the surgeon will be removing an artificial hip rather than your own joint, which can make the procedure more complicated. The operation will usually be performed with a general anaesthetic, so you won’t be awake. The surgeon will make an incision in your hip and remove the old prosthetic. Additional work may be required to reconstruct some of the surrounding bone. The new artificial hip will then be attached to your pelvis and femur. Once the surgical incision has been stitched up you will be taken to the recovery ward. As with the original operation, it will take you some time to recover your mobility and your doctor may recommend exercises to help with rehabilitation.

Risks and Benefits

A repeat hip replacement can ensure that you continue to enjoy the benefits of having an artificial hip after your current prosthetic wears out. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits with you in detail before the procedure, but you should be aware that:

  • Risks include infection, bleeding, blood clots, leg length discrepancy, fracture, dislocation and damage to nerves.
  • Because there are often factors that complicate surgery, such as bone loss or infection, recovering from a revision hip replacement often takes longer than recovering from a primary hip replacement. Often there are also additional factors a patient needs to be aware of during their recovery. For instance, if a patient has had a bone graft they might need to refrain from putting their full weight on the joint for some time after surgery. If a patient has had an infection of the hip joint they'll typically have to take antibiotics for several weeks or longer after surgery.
  • You probably won’t feel the benefits of the revision hip replacement as much as you did with your original surgery, because the procedure will usually be performed before you are in pain or your mobility is affected. However, you may still notice an improvement especially if the older prosthetic was damaged or is causing pain or other problems.

If you are ready to have your artificial hip replaced or you want to learn more about the procedure, you should get in contact to arrange an appointment with an experienced orthopaedic surgeon.

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