When you hear about someone having hip replacement surgery to treat hip arthritis, you might naturally assume it is an elderly patient. However, when a person in their 50s, 40s, or younger has severe hip arthritis that is not relieved with non-operative treatments, hip replacement surgery is a very common – and often practical – option.
That’s because the benefits of performing hip replacement surgery in younger patients often outweigh the risks of surgery. These include improved quality of life, pain reduction, and the ability to maintain proper fitness. In meeting these goals, patients can reduce the risk of developing other health problems associated with poor fitness, such as cardiovascular disease.
But age can be a factor in determining whether to undergo a hip replacement. Which is why it’s important to know the disadvantages as well as the benefits.
What’s the drawback?
If there’s a downside to performing hip replacement surgery in younger patients, it’s the risk of wearing out the implant. After all, the amount of wear to a hip replacement is related to the activity of the patient, which can differ greatly between someone who is 30 years old and an 80-year-old.
Studies show that among patients younger than 50 years of age, almost 90% of implants are still functioning 10 years after surgery, and more than 60% are still working after 15 years. But the younger your age when you have a hip replacement, the more likely it will wear out before you reach your senior years. So, young patients with joint replacements might need to restrain their activities.
There is nothing quite like the real thing when it comes to bones and joints. A healthy, and younger, human body is able to go through cycles of bone growth and repair, to keep bones strong and healthy. Injury or years of wear sometimes win out, though. The good news is that newer implants made of all metal or ceramic – instead of the traditional metal and plastic replacement – are constantly being developed and may improve the longevity of a hip replacement. But then again, product quality is a key issue.
The purpose of any new implant is to be more reliable and more durable than preceding implants. While some new implants have been successful in meeting that goal, others have been recalled and have required surgical removal. That’s because problems with implants don’t always materialize in laboratory testing, but instead, only after years of use by the recipient.
Nevertheless, there is reliable data to suggest that hip replacements in general often last 20 years or longer. So, for younger patients, it’s just a matter of doing your homework and finding a proven implant that has a good track record to ensure that your hip replacement will last as long as possible, and won’t require a subsequent replacement procedure. The best way to do that is by consulting an orthopedic doctor with extensive experience in hip replacement.
Regardless of your age, if you’re having hip pain, the orthopedic physicians at Spectrum Orthopaedics in North Canton, Ohio can help diagnose your injury and provide answers to any questions you may have about hip replacement. Spectrum Orthopaedics offers experienced providers and the latest in diagnostic techniques to ensure prompt care. Call (330) 305-0838 for an appointment today.