How long does a knee replacement last?
Orthopedic surgeons always state that prosthetic implants do not last forever and, like any material, wear out by time. It could last you the rest of your life or it may wear out before its expected date. Itis all up to your lifestyle and the activities you do regularly. Some vigorous activities are not appropriate for people with prosthetic implants. Unfortunately, no one can be sure that knee replacement will be the last operation needed on that joint. However, recent studies estimated that modern implants can last decades, as 80-90% of patients who had knee replacement did not need to repeat the operation and change the implanted part for over 20 years. Recently, the FDA has approved a replacement that claims a 30-year lifetime of use.
Despite the current development in the material of the implant and surgical techniques that aim to make implants last longer, patients should take into consideration the factors that affect the longevity of knee replacement implants. We will cover the most three reported reasons for wearing out the prosthetic implant:
- The patient’s activities as exposing the implanted part (regardless of its material) to intense pressure while doing vigorous activities could make it wear out much earlier than its expected date.
- Patient’s weight is always advised to be kept within the normal range as an overweight patient places much stress on the implanted joint. It is estimated that each additional 20 pounds of weight a person carries puts more than 100 pounds of stress on the knees. Doctors recommend exercising or practicing a sport as it is critically important to keep healthy and to decrease the applied pressure on the knee joint for it to last longer.
- The patient’s age should be taken into consideration to estimate how long the implanted knee joint will last. The younger the patient is, the more he is likely to repeat the operation to change the worn-out implant. Besides, younger individuals tend to be more active so, they may get a second operation in their fifties or earlier.