Hip and knee replacements are among the most common orthopaedic procedures performed today, with some 160,000 being carried out each year in England and Wales. When being faced with the possibility of having to have one of these procedures patients often ask:
Which hip replacement will last the longest? Hip arthritis is the commonest cause of hip pain in Patients 50+. It is most commonly due to wear and tear of your hip joint cartilage. When the cartilage is completely worn out the only treatment is hip replacement or resurfacing. Currently, surgeons do not know which type of hip replacement will last longest. Metal on metal, ceramic on ceramic or metal on polyethylene. There are also decisions to be made about uncemented or cemented, femoral head size and the type of surgery. Each has advantages. Metal on metal is the only solution for hip resurfacing. Ceramic on ceramic has the best wear rate and biocompatibility. Metal on polyethylene has the longest clinical use. The decision about what will suit you best is made after a clinical assessment, imaging scans and the very latest knowledge from medical research about risk factors and success rates.
What to do about knee pain. Over 70,000 knee replacement operations are carried out every year and the number is increasing. Most Patients are over 65 and slightly more than 50% are women. You may not need a full knee replacement and may be suitable for smaller and better performing partial knee replacement.
The surgery is normally only appropriate if you have severe pain, serious mobility issues and if your arthritis is not responding to medication, physiotherapy and weight loss. The earlier you have a knee replacement, the greater the chance that you will eventually need further surgery, but there is now some evidence that not waiting for your knee to become very stiff leads to a better result.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of knee replacement? Obviously, freedom from pain is the main benefit and you should find that you are more mobile as well. About 9 out of 10 people say that they are happy with their new knees. Everyday activities become much easier and exercise such as swimming, cycling, tennis or golf are also usually possible. You may be aware of some clicking in the joint, but by far the majority of people rate their new joint at about 75% normal. The good news is that most artificial knees will last for 20 years plus.
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