Hip Arthroplasty

When the discomfort caused by hip arthrosis can no longer be relieved through conservative measures and when the patient’s quality of life suffers considerably, the time has come to discuss joint replacement surgery (arthroplasty).

This decision is always made on a case-by-case basis and results from the discussion between the treating physician and the patient. The Englishman Sir John Charnley first implanted artificial hip joints about 60 years ago. Numerous improvements and the introduction of new materials in recent decades have led to the situation today, where hip arthroplasty is on a high level and the operation is very reliable in providing freedom from pain and improved functionality for the affected patients. Still, an endoprosthesis does not last forever; depending on the material used and the level of activity, it is calculated that is will last for 12 to 15 years on average. Various kinds of influences, each the subject of ongoing research, affect the durability of the implants.

One very crucial aspect is surely the fact that the implanted materials are prone to degeneration and that this is higher the greater the physical activity of the affected patient. It thus appears to be confirmed that an endoprosthesis has the highest level of durability in female patients over 70 years of age and the shortest lifespan in male, active patients under 60 years of age. This observation leads to the recommendation that physical stress and the level of activity of the wearer of an endoprosthesis should be reduced to “normal” walking stress and “light to medium” physical activity.