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What is a Revision Hip Replacement Procedure?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 November 2019
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A revision hip replacement procedure is performed on patients who have an artificial hip joint or prosthesis that has begun to deteriorate and damage the surrounding tissue or bones. Each replacement surgery is unique because each person wears down the prosthesis in a different way, and there is more risk of complications than in an initial hip replacement procedure. If a person with an artificial hip has pain, trouble putting pressure on the leg, or experiences instability when using the leg or joint, he or she should consult a physician about the options for fixing a hip replacement.

During the procedure, the artificial joint will be removed and then the socket is cleaned of bone fragments before a bone graft or other materials are used to rebuild the deteriorated socket and femur. Sometimes the wear on the pelvis bone is so great that a larger socket is implanted in order to distribute weight better. If the artificial joint is still viable the joint will be moved back into place, but in most cases a new prosthesis is positioned in the socket. A customized prosthesis is often manufactured because of the unique way each person’s body wears down the surrounding bones and joints. An artificial hip joint will usually wear out within 25 years, but a revision hip replacement joint will only last around 10 years.

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There is the risk of infection and of blood clots forming during the surgical procedure. A revision hip replacement surgery usually takes around eight hours or longer, depending on the individual’s prosthesis. This is especially dangerous for the elderly or those in poor health who may be more susceptible to complications during a longer procedure. Rehabilitation after a revision procedure is similar to the original hip replacement surgery, but people should expect to have a smaller range of motion and more discomfort with a revision artificial joint.

Revision hip replacement surgery may be necessary for a variety of reasons. The wearing down of a prosthesis is the most common reason for needing the surgery. Many young people are now having hip replacement surgeries that will allow them to continue their lifestyle and be involved in athletics, but it also means that many people in their 50s and 60s find that they need a revision procedure because the replacement has simply worn out.

Infection is also a major problem for people who have had a hip replacement. Bacteria can spread to the hip and surrounding tissue, and because the replacement is made mostly of metal, cement, and plastic, there is no way to treat an infection in these materials with antibiotics. The prosthesis may have to be removed if the body does not fight off the infection on its own.

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