Sports Injuries

27 March 2019

Good news for those who need them: Most hip, knee replacements last decades

An exhaustive review of several hundred thousand joint replacements in a number of countries concluded that these operations are very successful.

If you need a new hip or knee, take heart: The vast majority of these joint replacements last decades, new research shows.

The conclusion stems from an exhaustive review of several hundred thousand joint replacements in Australia, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and New Zealand.

Replacements last for decades

The researchers followed nearly 216 000 hip replacement patients for 15 years. They also tracked 74 000 for 20 years, and more than 51 000 patients for 25 years.

Overall, 89% of hip replacements lasted 15 years, and 70% lasted 20 years. Nearly six in 10 lasted 25 years, the study findings showed.

In addition, the researchers looked at knee replacement patients, including nearly 300 000 patients who were tracked for 15 years; 92 000 who were followed for 20 years; and about 80 000 who were tracked for 25 years.

Of those who had total knee replacement, 93% lasted 15 years. The same was true for about 77% of patients who had partial knee replacement, the investigators found.

Reliable and evidence-based answer

Two decades out, 90% of total knee replacements and 72% of partial replacements were still in good form. Twenty-five years out, those figures dipped to 82% for total knee replacement and 70% for a partial replacement.

Senior study author Michael Whitehouse, of the trauma and orthopaedics unit at Bristol Medical School in the United Kingdom, said the findings answer important questions about the long-term outcomes of joint replacement.

"As a clinician, it gives me the information that I need, to give my patients a reliable and evidence-based answer to one of the questions they consider most important when deciding whether it is the right time for them to have a joint replacement," he said in a University of Bristol news release.

The report was published online in The Lancet.

Image credit: iStock


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Sports Injuries Expert

Adrian Rotunno is a medical doctor in the Sports & Exercise Medicine fellowship at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, and qualified physiotherapist. Team physician for Dimension Data pro-cycling, and Boland Rugby. Special interests include endurance sport, in particular cycling, as well as contact sports.

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