How long do artificial joints last?

Ian J. Whitney, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Joint replacements are not as common to wear out. Watch Ian Whitney, MD, with Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, explain the differences due to the glenoid factor.
Robert J. Otto, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Studies have shown that hip or knee replacements have a 90% to 95% chance of lasting 10 years and an 80% to 85% chance of lasting 20 years.
Brent W. D'arc, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
In general, joint replacements last 15 to 20 years. In this video, Brent d'Arc, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Riverside Community Hospital, explains why joint replacements in people who are obese may not last as long. 
Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Like a pair of shoes, an artificial joint has a limited life span. The more demand your activities place on the new joint, the quicker it will wear out. With normal activity, most last 15 to 20 years. If you do regular high-impact exercise, your implant won't last as long. If possible, people under 60 are encouraged to delay the procedure because it is more likely that they will need later surgery to replace the implant—particularly if they are extremely active or overweight. Surgery to replace an implant, called revision surgery, is more difficult because there is less bone to work with after removing the first implant and more scarring of the soft tissues from the first surgery.

Problems with artificial joints occasionally occur. For example, the manufacturer of a metal hip socket known as the Durom Cup suspended sales after surgeons reported patients experiencing pain following the implantation of this device. Some patients needed repeat surgery to replace it. Ceramic-on-ceramic hip replacements cause squeaking in some patients and have, rarely, been known to shatter under heavy pressure, depositing a significant amount of debris that must be removed surgically when such failures occur.

Continue Learning about Bone & Joint Injuries

Bone & Joint Injuries

Bone & Joint Injuries

Often caused by falls, trauma, or injury, bone and joint injuries can sometimes be serious enough to require surgery. A broken bone can occasionally puncture your skin, causing intense pain. If you suspect that you have a broken b...

one, you will need medical treatment right away. In serious cases, pins, screws, and plates are placed into the body to stabilize the bone and help it heal. Joints connect our bones, and joint injuries can often occur in the elbows and knees. To reduce your risk of joint injury, stay healthy. Staying at a healthy weight and keeping your muscles strong and fit reduces the wear and tear on your joints.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.