Replacement of liner in eleven year old hip replacement : LUSENET : About Joints : One Thread

The liner to my hip replacement is wearing away. This is the third year it has been noticed. I have no pain, or other symptoms, but it has been seen on the x-rays that were done recently. The hip was replaced eleven years ago and to this day I have had no pain. and have good posture. I am almost eighty years old. Very physically active, gardening,digging, walking etc. Good health. but am undecided what to do. The option to replace is mine. What are the risks from the surgery, the future prosthesis, age-related stresses, etc.? Has anyone advice for me? Would love to hear it all; both pros and cons Sincerely, Jean.

-- Jean C. Camm (, July 02, 2001


This poses a difficult question. It's hard to imagine having surgery when everything is working well. It's also a difficult postition to be in from a surgeon's standpoint-surgery does have its risks, although very small for this procedure. The problem is that although things are working well, with the wear of the liner there is a chance of a big problem in the future. You see, the plastic that is wearing can likely be snapped out of the metal cup and a new one put in. Since you are active you have a greater likelihood of wearing away more plastic than someone who isn't active. If the plastic completely wears or breaks, then the metal ball from the femur will rub on the metal cup- the metal cup might even break. Then your hip won't work well. At that point it's better to replace the whole metal cup which is grown into the bone, and tha's a big surgery. It is longer and more difficult and has a higher complication rate. If you are healthy the risks of changing the plastic are small. If you knew how long the plastic would last that would help, but no one can really predict that. If you are healthy and wish to continue being active, I would lean towards changing the plastic so you know your hip will continue to work as it has in the past. It's not an easy decision, but it is up to you. Please contact if you have further questions.

-- Paul Khanuja, MD (, July 13, 2001.

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