Over time, an artificial hip joint may sustain damage due to a variety of causes. Normal wear and tear may lead to the implant loosening from the surrounding bone. That process occurs over time and typically leads to worsening hip pain with activity. Unfortunately, it should not be ignored as worsening damage to the surrounding bone may occur. This is one reason a patient may need revision hip surgery.
Other reasons for revision surgery include instability, where the ball repeatedly dislocates from the artificial socket. If this happens more than 2–3 times, it usually warrants revision hip surgery as the dislocations may start to become even more frequent as the muscles and ligaments around the hip joint become more stretched out. At times dislocations occur because the original hip components may not have been placed in the right position.
Less common reasons for revision hip surgery are infection, fracture, or reactions to the implant itself.
During revision hip surgery, an orthopedic surgeon corrects the specific problem, so the patient may resume their lifestyle. Artificial hip implants are extremely effective in improving the movement of hip joints that have been damaged by injury or arthritis. On average, the current generation of artificial hip joint lasts about 25–30 years, depending on the patient’s level of activity. After a period of normal use, the hip prosthesis may not fit as securely. At this point, it becomes less effective, and a hip revision surgery may be suggested. With hip revision surgery, the old/original artificial hip joint is replaced with a new prosthetic.
On rare occasion, revision surgery may also be needed if an infection has developed near the joint. Such infection may cause pain, fevers, or dislocations of the hip joint. The infection can also do damage to the hip bone itself. Infections may require two surgeries to fully eradicate the problem.
This procedure requires more extensive preoperative planning, specialized tools and a higher-level of surgical skill. Revision surgery tends to be more complicated than the initial procedure, because the orthopedic surgeon must first remove the original implant. Over time, the initial implant would have grown into the existing bone. Due to these factors, this operation typically takes longer to perform than a primary initial hip replacement.
This procedure may be necessary when:
After your revision surgery, your rehabilitation will be somewhat similar to that of a primary hip replacement, depending upon the parts replaced. Note that your normal activities, such as climbing a staircase or getting into a car, will be difficult at first. Your recovery may include a several months of physical therapy, in addition to medication, as needed. You may be advised to use blood-thinning medication to help prevent clots. To reduce the risk of having a Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), you may be given medication, wear special stockings and do ankle pumps two to three days following surgery. You will also be encouraged to exercise your legs to reduce swelling, and elevate your legs above the heart when resting. Physical therapy is often necessary after revision surgery.
The length of PT, recovery and medication needed after revision hip surgery will vary per patient. Please seek the advice of a medical professional for further details.