Hip Replacements Lasting Longer

05/09/06: By John Timperley, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at the Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre in Devon

Taken from NRAS magazine, Autumn 2006

Image of replacement hipA long running medical study into the British-designed Exeter hip prosthesis has shown that after 33 years, nine out of ten patients have joints in place that are functioning perfectly well; news that is sure to encourage the thousands of people in the UK whose quality of life is impacted by rheumatoid arthritis.

So, whilst joint replacement is one of the later treatment options, patients should be reassured that the Exeter Hip is a long term prospect. This research shows that there is no need to put off a hip replacement until later life if you can reasonably expect a hip joint to be functioning at 30 plus years.

Victor Small gardeningAnd there is one man who really is living proof that these hip replacements do last. His name is Victor Small. He’s 84 now and lives in Sidford in Devon. He was one of the original study group patients. Victor was in his 40s when he was told he needed his right hip replaced and had his left replaced eleven years later.

He says he thought the artificial hips would only last about eight years.

But he has had his right hip for nearly 34 years and his left for 22. He thought the first operation would just postpone him ending up in a wheelchair. 34 years later and he is still on his feet.

Victor, an enthusiastic gardener, continues to live an active life. What is remarkable about his story is the fact that he has not had any revision surgery on either hip.

Though a cure for rheumatoid arthritis might be some way off, advances in treatments and the publication of studies like this one should hearten patients who worry about their longer term options and mobility. Hip replacement, with the right prosthesis, can last the rest of your life.