How Long Will My New Knee or Hip Last?

When patients are dealing with the chronic pain and decreasing mobility created by chronic knee or hip pain, the first treatments are always non-surgical. Physical therapy, changes in some activities, and corticosteroid injections all fit into the normal course of treatment. 

But when these don’t help and your osteoarthritis in your knee or hip is beginning to really impact your life, patients start to consider knee or hip replacement surgery with Dr. Moore at Pinehurst Surgical. 

One of the first questions we get during the initial consultation is, “So, how long will my artificial knee/hip last?” 

In this pre-Thanksgiving blog, let’s get into some rough estimates of what you can expect. 


The failure of an artificial replacement can happen early on or over time. While most people wonder about the overall longevity of their prosthesis, they need to manage risk factors to ensure they get the longest duration out of their new knee or hip. Infection is usually the cause of any early failure. Risk factors that can contribute to this are uncontrolled diabetes, obesity, and poor nutrition. 

Long-term failure is most likely to occur because the bond between the bone and the implant loosens over time, or a component of the implant wears down. This will require revision surgery to replace the original implant. Revision surgeries are more involved than the original replacement in many cases, so patients wonder how long they can expect their artificial implant to last. 

The numbers 

Technology and materials continue to improve with modern replacements. But these are still manufactured components and, as with any manufactured item, they have a lifespan. 

It’s generally thought that around 90 percent of modern total knee replacements still function well 10 to 15 years after the placement. For total hip replacement, that number is closer to 20 years. 

But those numbers may be shortchanging the duration of modern implants, as they are evolving quite quickly. The problem is that the data currently available is from implants that, in many cases, aren’t even on the market any longer. For instance, one of the newer technologies is a plastic called “highly cross-linked polyethylene.” It has been showing very low-wear properties, and it is expected that implants made with this plastic will last longer than those made with previous plastics. 

As we’ve discussed in other blogs, how you respect and manage your new knee or hip moving forward also impacts its lifespan. This is especially true of impact activities, such as playing basketball or running. 

When you meet with Dr. Moore, the two of you will discuss trends in the implants he is placing. But it’s expected that 20 years from now the longevity numbers should be even better. 

Are you tired of dealing with chronic knee or hip pain? Give Dr. Moore a call at Pinehurst Surgical, (910) 295-0224, and set up a consultation for possible knee or hip replacement.

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