Life with an Artificial Hip

How long will the artificial hip last?

In most cases, hip replacements will outlive us. The 15- to 20-year data on the longevity of hip replacement components is excellent, with more than 90% of the implants still functioning well in many studies. This is neither a guarantee nor assurance, for the simple reason that life is unpredictable.

How do I know if I have a metal allergy to the hip part?

Orthopaedic implants are made of alloys of cobalt-chrome and titanium that have been implanted in millions of patients over the past several decades. Most instances of a persistently painful hip after replacement have to do with a problem related to the surgery or an infection. A true metal allergy is extremely rare.

What about future dental work and other surgery?

Because you have an artificial hip joint in place, you must take care to protect it from infection. The same applies to any artificial implant in your body. Before having dental work or certain medical procedures, you must take an antibiotic.

The antibiotic will help prevent bacteria from getting into the blood stream and thus into your hip. The odds of this happening are very rare, but the antibiotic can reduce this already small risk.

For routine teeth cleaning after hip replacement surgery, antibiotics are recommended for two years after your surgery. After that point, it is your decision whether you should take antibiotics. Our surgeons generally suggest taking antibiotics for major procedures that result in significant bleeding.

Will the new hip set off a metal detector at the airport?

It probably will. Tell airport personnel that you have an artificial joint before entering the metal detector.

Can I have an MRI scan after hip replacement?

Yes. MRI scans of other parts of your body are safe after hip replacement. Although some old MRI scanning equipment may not be compatible with your prosthesis, the majority of MRI scanning equipment today is safe and compatible with hip replacement parts. You also may have a CT scan of any part of your body after a hip replacement.


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