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Replacement hip and knee joints now lasting longer

12:00am | & Health

HIP and knee replacements are two of the most common types of surgery carried out on the NHS, but until now many doctors have felt unable to confidently answer one of the most commonly asked questions – how long will they last?

Now, new research carried out for respected medical journal The Lancet is helping to answer that question. It looked at operations carried out over the past 25 years and found that eight out of 10 complete knee replacements and six out of 10 hip replacements should last as long as 25 years.

For anyone about to undergo surgery, or having done so recently, the news is even better, as the latest generation of replacement knee and hip joints should last even longer. The research, carried out by the University of Bristol, looked at 25 years’ worth of operations involving more than half-a-million people. It noted marked improvements over that period both in the way that surgery is carried out and in the quality and durability of replacement hip and knee joints used.

Most people who undergo the surgery are between 60 and 80 years old and the need for ‘revision surgery’ – to replace a worn-out artificial hip or knee joint – is diminishing, even though people are generally living longer. Nearly 200,000 replacement hip and knee operations were carried out in 2017 in England and Wales alone.

In more detail, the research found that:

  • for hip replacements, 89% lasted 15 years, 70% lasted 20 years and 58% lasted 25 years
  • for total knee replacements, 93% lasted 15 years, 90% lasted 20 years and 82% lasted 25 years
  • for partial knee replacements, 77% lasted 15 years, 72% lasted 20 years and 70% lasted 25 years.

Patients who were more active following replacement surgery were more likely to wear out their new joints more quickly, but being active was still far preferable for their general health and wellbeing than becoming physically inactive, which could lead to their new joints performing less well.

The research also found that replacement joints – even earlier versions – were unlikely to ‘break’, but could fail due to general wear and tear or infection. Repeat replacements are more likely to fail, so reducing the need for them by developing more durable replacement joints and improved surgical techniques is good news.

John Skinner, from the British Orthopaedic Association and a consultant orthopaedic surgeon, said: “Orthopaedic surgeons are working to provide hip replacements that will last, as our population ages and lives longer. Initially, patients had joint replacements at the very end of their arthritic journey, just before they lost the ability to walk and became wheelchair dependent. We are now so confident in hip replacement surgery that we can offer it to younger, more active patients, to relieve their pain and keep them active.”

• If you suffer from pain in your hip and/or knee joints, one of the hardest things to do is going up or coming down the stairs in your home. Climbing the stairs puts pressure on painful or swollen weight-bearing joints, while coming down can jolt or jar them, causing intense stabbing pain.

You can keep this pain at bay and greatly improve the quality of your everyday life by having an Acorn Stairlift installed in your home. It will take you up and down the stairs as often as you like in comfort and safety, helping you retain your independence, remain in the home you love and regain full use of it.

Acorn Stairlifts are designed to blend discreetly into the home environment, taking up minimal room on the stairs and running on a single, light but strong, aluminium rail. It is fixed to the stairs, not the wall, so there’s no need for disruptive structural work, rewiring or redecorating. An Acorn Stairlift can be installed within a few days of your initial inquiry, even next day if urgency is paramount, and we believe our simple but reliable award-winning designs offer the best all-round value for money on the market.

Finding out the price of your made-to-measure Acorn Stairlift won’t cost you a penny, as your Acorn home survey and quote is completely free and without obligation. To get the ball rolling, give us a call today on 0808 223 4871 or click on the green ‘Get a free quote’ button at the top right of this page.

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