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Hip and knee replacements show high durability, study shows

By Tauren Dyson
About six in 10 hip replacements performed 25 years ago have remained in place. Photo by C Levers/Shutterstock
About six in 10 hip replacements performed 25 years ago have remained in place. Photo by C Levers/Shutterstock

Feb. 15 (UPI) -- Most hip replacements last well after the surgery was performed, a new study says.

About six in 10 hip replacements performed 25 years ago have remained in place, according to a new study published Thursday in The Lancet. Additionally, 89 percent were still in place 15 years later and 70 percent lasted 20 years.

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"Over two million hip and knee replacements have been performed in the UK since 2003 and patients often ask clinicians how long their hip or knee replacement will last, but until now, we have not had a generalizable answer," Jonathan Evans, a researcher at the Bristol Medical School and study lead author, said in a news release.

This new research also shows that durability comes along with knee replacement surgery. About 90 percent of total knee replacements and 72 percent of unicondylar knee replacements last for roughly 20 years.

RELATED Study: Automated text messages speed recovery after joint replacement

"Previous studies have been based on much smaller samples. At best, the NHS has only been able to say how long replacements are designed to last, rather than referring to actual evidence from multiple patients' experiences of joint replacement surgery," Evans said. "Given the improvement in technology and techniques in the last 25 years, we expect that hip or knee replacements put in today may last even longer."

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Hip replacements, however, can come with some risk. A recent study found that 14 percent of hip surgeries end with an infection.

The National Institutes of Health estimate that one million total joint arthroplasty surgeries occur each year. They project that number to shoot up to nearly four million by 2030.

One study also shows that getting text messages boosts the moods of people who recently received hip replacements.

"This information is incredibly useful to me as a researcher to understand the life course of people undergoing joint replacement," said Michael Whitehouse, Reader in Trauma and Orthopaedics at the Bristol Medical School and study senior co-author. "Additionally, as a clinician, it gives me the information that I need, to give my patients a reliable and evidence-based answer to one of the questions they consider most important when deciding whether it is the right time for them to have a joint replacement."

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