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Today, a replacement knee can last 15, 20, or even 25 good, active years. That’s compared to only a 5-10 year lifespan for a replacement knee as recently as a decade ago. While still an option of last resort for those suffering from chronic knee pain, replacement knee surgery is not only far less invasive now, the results are measurably better and last far longer. Several factors, such as improved materials, tools and technology, have converged to make this surgery a longer lasting and more effective answer to a bum knee.
A joint replacement can last a lifetime. In this video, Barton Harris, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Health Group, discusses advances in materials and techniques that have increased joint replacement longevity.
With new materials and techniques, most replacement knees last at least 15 years. Many knees today are expected to last up to 30 years. In a few cases, new knee parts can loosen over time and need to be repaired. There's no way to predict how long your knee replacement will last, but your new knee will last longest if you:
- Stay moderately active but don't overdo it
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Keep in touch with your doctor and physical therapist
Ninety percent of knee replacements should last up to 30 years. There is a common myth that custom knee replacements will wear out after 10 to 15 years, so people shouldn’t get them in their 50s or 60s. That’s not based on hard evidence.
A person with knee pain should speak to an orthopedic surgeon about knee surgery sooner than later. If a person has knee pain and puts off medical attention until the damage is too bad, recovery will be less than optimal.
How long will my knee replacement last is a common question for those with long term knee pain. Replacements used to last 7- 10 years but now knee replacements can last 10-25 years. Listen to your doctor, do your physical therapy and be good to your body. Lifestyle plays an important part in the longevity of the knee replacement. Activity level and body weight will also affect knee health. It is very important to work on strength and flexibility of the knee form day one. Keeping a healthy body weight will lessen the stress on the knee joint when doing everyday activities. High impact injuries should be avoided. Jumping and jogging will wear on the plastic cushion causing the knee to wear out faster. Stretch and strengthen, Normal activities are good for the knee and can strengthen the leg and help the knee last longer. Just because you have a knee replacement doesn’t mean you can go and do extreme activities. Unless of course you want another new knee soon.
(This answer provided for NATA by Jennifer Taginski, ATC, LAT, EMT.)
How long your knee replacement will last depends on how active you are, how much you weigh, and your overall health. Most implants last for many years, but sometimes they wear out. If that happens you may need additional surgery, called joint revision, to replace the old implant with a new one.
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.