pic of knee replacement

How Long Do Knee Replacements Last?

25 Dec 2018 Blog
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Knee replacement surgery has become increasingly common over the years. In the US alone, there are on an average 600,000 knee replacement surgeries being performed every year.

It has been found that a total knee replacement surgery can change the quality of life for the patient for the better. Not only does it provide them with greater mobility but also ensures that they are able to regain the independence that a faulty knee often engenders.

Knee replacement surgery is conducted as a treatment for severe knee arthritis. While, like most surgeries, there is a factor of risk involved in knee replacement, there is a general consensus among healthcare providers and patients that it is definitely the best way to go. But the story does not end once the surgery has been performed, there is a long road to recovery and a number of factors that one needs to be acutely aware of moving forward.

Cost Vs Longevity of Knee Replacements

One of the biggest deterrents for anyone who is looking to go in for knee replacement surgery is usually the high cost involved. These surgeries are not cheap, but research suggests that the long-term cost of having a dodgy knee and the medication, as well as loss of financial opportunities stemming from it, is likely to be more than that of having the operation in the first place.

A number of patients often ask their doctors for a guarantee that a replacement will give them the kind of results that they expect. This is something that can never be promised by any doctor or healthcare professional around the world.

The main reason for this is the fact that every patient is different, each case that they deal with is different and more often than not, the result too varies from patient to patient.

As mentioned before, simply having the surgery is not an end to your ailment. It requires a long and arduous period of exercise, physiotherapy and medication to ensure that the replacement has taken to your body.

Factors like age, weight and therapy are crucial in ensuring that the replacement surgery goes off perfectly. There are cases where the first joint replacement surgery is unsuccessful because of reasons like infection or loosening. In such cases, a second replacement surgery is suggested.

This is known as a revision surgery and this is often more difficult and complicated than the first one. The recovery in revision surgery is longer and success rates are also lower.

In an ideal case the patient should go into the first surgery knowing all the possibilities and options in front of them. Understanding the eventualities is a part of going in for surgery.

Doing the rehabilitation right, ensuring the medical regimen is followed and having a great doctor performing the surgery is key to ensuring that you do not have to go in for a revision surgery.

Factors Affecting Longevity

Studies have found that joint replacements usually last for 20 years. In fact, some studies have also found that joint replacements still functioning in patients who had the surgery over 20 years ago. This is the goal of a joint replacement, especially knee replacement, which is to give the patient a solution that will last for decades.

It is important to know that the material used to make knee replacements also undergo wear and tear over the years.

While there is no set rule as to how long will a knee replacement last in a particular individual there are factors that can show how durable it will be. These factors are detailed below:

  • Age of the Patient: Patients that are young in age have been known have knee replacements last much longer. This is primarily because younger patients tend to be more active. Patients that are in their fifties, or older, and who undergo knee replacement can expect a revision surgery in their lifetime.
  • Patient Activities: There are certain activities that are definitely not advisable for patients that have undergone knee replacement. These activities may not be painful or even difficult, but what they can do is put undue stress on the joint. The stress on the knee replacement may cause the parts to wear out more quickly and lead to requiring a revision surgery that much sooner.
  • Patient Weight: One of the key factors that determine how long the knee replacement will last is the weight of the patient. The more an individual weighs the more stress is placed on their knee. This additional stress can cause the knee replacement to wear out more quickly than anticipated. While going for knee replacement it is important to maintain a normal body weight. Simple exercises and dietary control are usually enough to ensure that you are not overweight and unduly burdening your knee.
  • Avoiding Complications: While this may be a no-brainer, there are certain medical conditions that can lead to complications which can adversely affect the replaced joint. Something as simple as having a dental procedure done may require patients to do a course of antibiotics to avoid bacteria causing infection in the replaced joint. Patients with osteoporosis should be even more careful because if they bone around the replaced joint is fractured it can affect the functioning of the joint.

The medical journal, The Lancet conducted a survey on hip and knee replacements published in the April 2017 edition. Here are some facts and figures from the survey regarding knee replacement surgery that will give you a better idea of the success rate of the procedure:

Only 3.9% of people who had knee replacement surgery needed revision surgery within the first ten years. On the other hand, 10.3% of these people required revision surgery 20 years after having undergone the procedure.

Conclusion

When one’s hip or knee is worn out, and conventional medication or exercise does not work, there are very few options left to the individual, the best among them remains joint replacement surgery. To ensure that the procedure is a success ensure that you are following the exercise and rehabilitation program as suggested by your doctor. Watch your weight carefully and make sure you are not doing anything that stresses the joint unduly. Most importantly, find the best possible doctor to perform the surgery on you.

At Regency Medical Centre we have a team of doctors and healthcare staff that have years of experience with joint replacement. From comprehensive guidance to a state of the art operation theatre, we ensure that our patients are taken care of in the best possible fashion. When making the choice for a joint replacement, look for the best.

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