hip replacement surgery patientTotal hip replacement is a surgical procedure with a high success rate, offering individuals restored mobility and freedom from pain in most cases. However, hip replacement does not always provide permanent results. In a patient’s lifetime, the artificial joint might fail, necessitating another surgery to remove the damaged implant and replace it with a new device.

Revision hip replacements tend to be a longer and more complicated procedure than first hip surgery. There might be damage to the bone or surrounding tissue to address. The surgeons at Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio have the expertise and experience to handle your revision hip replacement, reducing your risk for complications while improving your outcome overall.

Understanding Hip Replacement

Your original hip implant likely consists of two primary components that worked like a natural hip joint. The ball component replaces the top of the femur, known as the femoral head. A long stem extends from the ball into the femur to stabilize the part. The socket component fits into the pelvic bone and allows the ball to move in various directions for full mobility of the leg.

Reasons for Revision Hip Replacement

When the artificial hip stops working as it should, revision surgery may be necessary to replace one or both components. There are numerous reasons why a hip prosthesis might fail:

  • Implant loosens, causing pain and reduced mobility
  • Recurrent dislocation of the current hip joint
  • Infection in or around the joint
  • Fracture of the implant or the bone
  • Reaction to metal ions that flake off the implant and enter the surrounding tissue

Most patients seek hip revision surgery due to pain or weakness in the joint. Upon further examination, your doctor can usually pinpoint the cause of the pain and determine whether revision surgery is the best treatment option for you.

Is Revision Hip Replacement Right for You?

Revision hip replacement is generally recommended for patients that are in relatively good health but are experiencing complications from their original surgery that are restricting their mobility or affecting their quality of life overall. The younger you are when you receive your implant, the more likely you will need a revision since hip joints tend to wear out from physical activity over time. Patients who are willing to commit to their recovery and post-operative rehabilitation tend to see the fewest complications from their revision procedures.

Revision Hip Replacement Overview

Like your initial hip replacement, this procedure is performed under general or regional anesthesia. Your surgeon will create incisions in the same location as your original incisions to minimize additional scarring after this surgery. Your surgeon will examine the joint, bone and surrounding soft tissue to determine how much damage Is present. This assessment will dictate the specific techniques used for your procedure.

Revision hip surgery is a longer process than your first operation. Your surgeon will need to repair damage at the same time your new implant is put into place. In some cases, bone grafts will be necessary to address bone loss that has occurred since the first procedure. The surgery will need to be tailored to your precise needs to ensure the highest odds of success.

After Hip Revision Replacement

You will spend a few days in the hospital after your revision hip surgery. While your mobility will be limited, hospital staff will encourage you to begin walking soon after your procedure to reduce the risk for blood clots and promote a healthy healing process. Rehabilitation is an essential step in successful revision hip surgery, and the better you adhere to your exercise regimen, the faster you will regain your mobility and strength. Patients are typically back to activities within three to four months.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hip Revision Replacement

How successful are hip replacement revisions?

Hip replacement revisions are considered to be highly safe and effective procedures that provide patients with much-needed pain relief and mobility. The success rate is extremely high and only becoming more reliable as prosthetic technology becomes increasingly more sophisticated. By the time a patient has experienced a mechanical failure or issue with their original hip replacement, it is likely that the next model used will be much more advanced, leading to fewer and fewer revision treatments. 

Can hip joint replacement revision patients use the stairs right away?

In most cases, no. It is not a great idea to use stairs immediately after your procedure since your wounds are still fresh, and the prosthesis will still be settling. After a few weeks, however, you will likely be able to begin using stairs and other more strenuous activities. This process is often guided during physical therapy sessions, where you can safely push your boundaries under medical supervision. Regardless, though, you should always wait until a surgeon clears you to take these steps so you can be sure you are not putting your health or long-term success at risk. A few weeks of patience and some work in PT will be highly rewarded with decades of functionality and pain relief. 

Do I need a hip replacement revision?

If you are experiencing issues or inconveniences with your hip replacement hardware, such as pain, poor mobility, dislocation, infection or fracture, then you are likely going to be in need of a hip replacement revision surgery. When a hip replacement prosthesis is behaving as intended, none of these side effects exist. Going through the surgery and recovery period is considered by the vast majority of our patients to be way better than dealing with constant irritations, pain or discomfort with no end in sight.

How long does a hip revision replacement last?

The typical hip replacement or revision hip replacement will last between 15 and 20 years without external factors like trauma. This is good news for patients in need of a hip replacement since it means surgeries and replacements will be few and far between. The mileage on the hip replacement revision depends a lot on the amount of wear it undergoes and your unique reaction to the treatment. 

How long does hip replacement revision surgery take?

While hip replacement revision surgery is a standard surgery that is highly practiced by our medical team, the surgery itself does take a fair amount of time to complete because of how extensive the process is. In most cases, the procedure will take between two and three hours, but it is normal for that to shift slightly up or down depending on the surgical conditions. While it is a lengthy process for the surgeon and surgical team, you will be under general anesthesia or IV sedation during the entire process, so it will feel like you fell asleep for a nap and woke up to a replaced brand new hip replacement. 

How many hip replacement revision surgeries per year?

Unfortunately, there is no consolidated database on how many hip replacement revisions are performed each year. But we can extrapolate a bit based on data we do have. For example, according to Harvard Health, there are about 330,000 hip replacements performed each year. There is a study that also shows that by the 10-year mark, only 4.4% of those patients required revision surgery. That is about 14,500 total revision procedures. The same study showed that by the 20-year mark, 15% of patients needed revisions. That comes out to 49,500 total procedures performed. While this doesn’t give us a perfect answer, it lets us know that revision surgeries are common, routine procedures performed regularly by trained surgeons.

What is a constraint in hip replacement revision?

One of the most common issues patients have when it comes to hip replacements is dislocation. Up to 10% of patients with initial hip replacements will experience dislocation at some point, while up to 25% of hip replacement revision patients will develop the same condition. A constraint is used in a procedure known as constrained total hip arthroplasty. It is a way of locking in certain elements of the hips to help prevent dislocations from occuring. 

How far should I be walking four weeks after hip replacement revision?

There is no universal rule for how far you should be walking after your hip replacement revision. Some patients are able to do multiple sessions of 30-minute walks by four weeks, while others may still be having difficulty doing a single session. The best way to move forward is to work closely with your surgeon and physical therapist to ensure that you are safely pushing your boundaries and working toward returning to normal life and activities. Your pace is your own, and you should listen carefully to your body and not overexert yourself. 

Can I sleep on my side four weeks after hip replacement?

We recommend that all of our patients avoid sleeping on their sides for four to six weeks (or until cleared by their physician). Putting pressure on that side of your implant could cause problems for the wound and prosthesis, which could, in turn, damage your recovery process and your long-term results. 

Get Back in Action

Revision hip surgery can effectively address problems left behind after an initial hip replacement to reduce pain and restore mobility. The complexity of this procedure demands extensive experience and expertise from your surgical team to ensure a safe and successful operation. The team at Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio is equipped to provide you with a surgical experience that offers the best possible outcome. To learn more, contact our office today at 419-222-6622.