Wellness & Education

How Long Will My New Hip (or Knee) Last?

Total joint replacement patients frequently want to know “How long will my new hip (or knee) last?”  

For many years, the standard reply has been “15 to 20 years”. Recent research involving 500,000 patients from six different countries suggests that, for many, these numbers may be too low. According to recent findings, 89% of hip replacements lasted 15 years, 70% lasted 20 years and 58% lasted 25 years. Study Finds 60% of Hip Implants Last 25 Years | Machine Design For knee replacements, the results were even better. 93% lasted 15 years, 90% lasted 20 years and 82% lasted 25 years. How long does a knee replacement last? A systematic review and meta-analysis of case series and national registry reports with more than 15 years of follow-up – PubMed (nih.gov) 

The length of time a total joint replacement lasts depends on a variety of factors. Some of these factors are technical, including the type of material used in making the artificial joint and the accuracy of the angle at which the new joint is installed. Other factors are more dependent upon the patient, including the amount of pre-surgery exercise, weight loss prior to surgery and keeping weight off after surgery, adherence to the rehab program after surgery, avoidance of falls, etc.  

When advances are made in joint replacement surgery, it takes many years to measure the impact of improvement. The only way to know if something will last longer than 20 years, is to wait 20 years. However, research does seem to indicate that the lifespan of artificial joints is increasing.  

The length of time a new joint is expected to last helps patients have confidence in the replacement procedure. It also helps patients decide when to have total joint replacement surgery.  

When total joint replacement surgery was first developed, it was usually only used as a last resort for patients who would become wheelchair-bound without it. Now that materials and techniques have proven their effectiveness, total joint replacements are being done on patients who are younger and in better shape. This means that joint replacement surgery is able to impact and improve more lives. It also means that there are more patients who are likely to live long enough to need a second, or even third, artificial joint.  

The replacement of one artificial joint with another is known as “revision surgery”. The success rate for revision surgeries is lower than it is for a first-time joint replacement. Knowing how long a joint replacement is expected to last helps younger patients decide how long to wait before having their first joint replacement. If waiting will help decrease the chances that a second, or even a third joint replacement will be needed, then the best decision may be to delay surgery if the condition of the patient allows it. 

As materials and surgical techniques progress, hopefully the durability of total joint replacements will continue to increase.  


RMH Orthopedics: 765-932-7063