Revision: Replacing a hip replacement

Health and Fitness, Topics

Surgeons passing instrumentsWith limited, painful hip mobility decreasing one's quality of life, hip replacements have proven to be very effective and allowed many patients to return to the fun, active lives they once enjoyed.

However, a day will likely come when the artificial joint ceases to function normally, giving way to typical wear and tear, and need to be replaced-a "revision."

A hip revision consists of replacing all or part of the artificial hip implant that may have become compromised and can no longer serve its function.

"Joint replacements, hips included, are not designed to be a permanent, lifetime fix," said Dr. Christopher Vitale, orthopedic and trauma surgeon with McLaren Macomb. "Fortunately for our patients, revisions are a very common procedure and have great outcomes."

Largely lasting 15 to 20 years, it's very rare for a hip replacement to last a lifetime. The implant's "life" can be accelerated by the repeated low-impact trauma of physical activity.

"Activities create wear and tear on all joints, including artificial ones," he continued. "We want our patients to have fun and participate in physical activities-that's our goal. Be responsible, but return to your favorite activities and don't fear you're doing irreparable damage because wear and tear is natural."

Reasons to consider a hip replacement revision would be if the ball-and-socket joint is repeatedly dislocating, if the implant fails by loosening within the bone or if an infection develops around the implant.

This will cause some discomfort and minor pain, which can be the telltale sign that a revision is needed to correct the issue and relieve the pain, leading to improved mobility, strength and coordination following rehabilitation.

To learn more or if you think you may be in need of a hip replacement revision, visit