Revision replacement surgery is more complex than an initial replacement operation and requires a certain level of skill and experience. It is a surgical procedure in which all or part of a previously implanted hip/knee joint is replaced with a new artificial joint and includes:

  • Total femur & humerus replacements
  • Treatment of Infected Hip and Knee Replacements
  • Treatment of Peri-prosthetic Fractures
  • Treatment of Chronic Osteomyelitis

This article focuses on Revision Hip Replacement.

Revision Hip Replacement

Revision hip replacement is a complex surgical procedure in which all or part of a previously implanted hip joint is replaced with a new artificial hip joint. Total hip replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe arthritis pain that limits your daily activities. During total hip replacement, the damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components. At times, hip replacement implants can wear out for various reasons and may need to be replaced with the help of a surgical procedure known as revision hip replacement surgery.

Indications for Revision Hip Replacement

Revision hip replacement is advised in patients with the following conditions:

  • Increasing pain in the affected hip
  • Worn-out plastic or polyethylene prosthesis
  • Dislocation of previous implants
  • Loosening of the femoral or acetabular component of the artificial hip joint
  • Infection around the hip prosthesis causing pain and fever
  • Weakening of bone around the hip replacement (Osteolysis)

What Does the Procedure Entail?

Revision hip replacement surgery is performed under general anaesthesia. During the procedure, your surgeon will make an incision over the hip to expose the hip joint. Then the femur is dislocated from the acetabulum so that the old plastic liner and the metal socket can be removed from the acetabulum.

After removal, the acetabulum is prepared using extra bone and wire mesh to make up for the socket space and shape. Then the new metal shell is inserted into the socket using screws or special cement. A liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal is placed inside the metal socket.

To prepare the femoral component, the top of the femur bone is cut into several pieces to remove the implant. The segments of bone are cleaned and the new femoral implant is inserted into the femur either by a press fit or using bone cement. The segments of the femur and the femoral component are held together with surgical wires. Then the femoral head component made of metal or ceramic is placed on the femoral stem. All the new components are secured in place to form the new hip joint. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.

What Are the Risks?

As with any major surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with revision hip replacement surgery. The possible complications after revision hip replacement include:

  • Infection
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture of the femur or pelvis
  • Injury to nerves or blood vessels
  • Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
  • Leg length inequality
  • Hip prostheses may wear out
  • Failure to relieve pain

How to Prepare for Hip Revision Surgery as a Patient.

In order to prepare for hip revision surgery, patients can take steps at home to help ensure an easier recovery after surgery. Here are a few tips and special equipment suggestions that may help.

  • Remove any loose rugs for easy walking in the house. Make sure you tape down all electrical cords;
  • Make sure all necessities are stored between waist and shoulder level;
  • Prepare a sleeping room on the main floor;
  • Elevated toilet seats;
  • Shower seats;
  • Handrails and grab bars, especially when getting in and out of the bathtub.

The benefits of Hip Revision Surgery

Relief from pain is the main benefit of having hip revision surgery. Many patients may find that hip revision surgery improves mobility, strength and coordination of the torso and leg. Revision surgery may enable patients to return once again to normal activity with a pain-free hip.

Chronic hip pain should not stop you from living a full life. Contact my office situated at Vergelegen Mediclinic Somerset West at 021 850 6398 or admin@newlimb.co.za to make an appointment.