If you’re about two decades past your hip replacement surgery and noticing escalating pain, popping sounds or a lack of balance from time to time, you may need to consider hip revision surgery. In the US, approximately 18% of hip surgeries will require a revision procedure around 20 years after implanting the original prosthesis. 

Possible candidates often wonder about the tell-tale signs for a revision, how to know when it’s better to have another total replacement and what’s involved with these types of post-replacement surgeries. Does this apply to you or someone you love? In this article, you’ll get the answers to all your questions about hip revisions.  

What’s a Hip Revision?

In order for a hip replacement to function properly, an implant must remain comfortably attached to the bone. Hip revision surgery will be performed to repair or replace an artificial hip joint that’s been damaged over time due to wear and tear, fractures or infection. Revision corrects issues so the hip can function optimally once again. This may involve a resurfacing of the existing prosthesis or a complete exchange of the artificial hip implanted during the initial surgery. The latter is more common.

Replacement requires:

  • Removal of the previous prosthesis and the cement 
  • Dead or infected bone and surrounding tissue 
  • Installation of the new hip or hips

Why Have a Hip Revision?

Over time, if an implant loosens, it may begin to rub against the bone. Injuries such as fractures and joint dislocations happen, causing loss of balance and falling more often and leading to even more physical issues. You might experience extreme pain and a marked lack of mobility due to tendinitis in your hip flexor. 

Telling your doctor about your symptoms as soon as possible is highly recommended. The continued use of a compromised hip replacement will make the joint more difficult to repair later. 

Waiting to call your orthopaedist can create:

  • Further implant loosening
  • Bone loss
  • Infections
  • Recurrent dislocations
  • Allergies to metal
  • Walking unevenly, wearing other joints

When Is Hip Revision Needed?

Ultimately, how long your hip implant will last depends on your general health, weight, activity levels and type of implant. Athletes are more likely to strain their implants than those who engage in moderate activity. Uncontrolled diabetes also creates a higher risk of developing issues.

When a replacement joint wears out, loosens or develops a problem, you have the option for a resurfacing or replacement by a hip revision operation. Using X-rays, the orthopedic surgeon can detect and monitor any changes and even plan for a future revision surgery before a significant problem occurs.

Symptoms you might notice:

  • Growing pain
  • Clicking when walking
  • Feeling the joint moving out of its socket
  • Hip dislocation

What If Your Hip Replacement Is Infected?

If the prosthetic joint is infected, it’s most likely to be recommended for removal and replacement. In this situation, an antibiotic-filled cement is likely to be used in conjunction with intravenous antibiotics for six to eight weeks and at-home treatment of oral antibiotics. 

During the surgery, portions of your hip with the disease are removed and replaced with a new artificial hip joint. Depending on the severity of the infection, both hips may require revision, or a total re-replacement may be suggested.

When You Need a Full Replacement Instead of Hip Revision

All factors will be considered during your consultation and examination as your doctor determines what to recommend in your case. It may make more sense to consider a full hip re-replacement instead of a partial or resurfacing. This depends on the condition of your bones and how much damage is at the location of the original implant. Screenings will help to see the full scope of the situation and what’s possible for you.

Hip revision is more complicated than a first-time total hip replacement. Here at the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio, our doctors ensure you’ll receive the high-quality care you deserve while not insisting on extra procedures you don’t need. Your comfort and safety are our top priorities.

Post-Surgery Recovery

Just like with your original replacement, plan to spend a few days in the hospital after your revision hip surgery. Committing to walking as soon as possible after your procedure reduces the risk of blood clots and promotes a healthy healing process. You’ll be assisted to avoid injury as you get stronger. Rehabilitation is essential for success, and following your exercise regimen strictly will be your best plan to regain your mobility and strength as quickly as possible. 

Typical to any surgery, you can expect some minor discomfort. This will be in your hip region and your groin and thigh. This is normal. Your body will be adjusting to changes made to joints in the surgery area. You may also have pain in the thigh and knee joints due to a change in the length of your leg.

Three to four months is the typical time frame when you can expect to be back in your usual activities, provided you keep up with your at-home and inpatient care.

Will This Cure Your Hip Pain For Good?

Advancements in technology and surgical techniques are increasing the number of successful revision surgeries. Removing the reasons for your constant and deepening pain will make a considerable difference in your life. However, as with any orthopedic treatment, completely eradicating your pain cannot be guaranteed. 

Knowing the details of your symptoms, lifestyle and general health will go a long way to helping create a plan to help you feel better. Starting the revision process as soon as possible offers you the highest likelihood of long-term success for a happier, more comfortable life.

Your Next Steps

Revision hip surgery can effectively address problems that arise years after your initial hip replacement. You can count on our talented surgical team’s extensive experience and expertise to offer you more mobility and get back to your favorite activities as soon as possible.

The Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio team will provide you with a surgical experience that offers the best possible outcome on all fronts. To learn more, contact our office today at 419-222-6622.