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What's new in Science: Bristol hip replacement research

By Bethan Howe, Third Year Psychology

Knee and hip replacements are two of the most common and successful operations performed in the NHS, with over two million being performed in the UK since 2003. Despite this, patients and clinicians have not had a generalisable answer as to how long these replacements will last. Recent research conducted by the Musculoskeletal Research Unit at the University of Bristol has changed this, providing data showing that eight out of ten knee replacements and six out of ten hip replacements will still be in place after 25 years.

Reports of over 340,000 people who had had hip replacements across various countries including the UK, Australia, and Sweden were followed up for either 15, 20, or 25 years. It was found that 89% were found to last 15 years, 70% lasted 20 years, and 28% lasted 25 years. Cases of over 450,000 people with total knee replacements (TKR), and over 15,000 people with unicondylar or partial knee replacements (UKR) were followed up. 93% of TKRs and 77% of UKRs were found to last 15 years, 90% of TKRs and 72% of UKRs were found to last 20 years, and 82% of TKRs and 70% or UKRs were seen to last 25 years.

This is vital information as although replacements are highly effective, ultimately they will fail due to factors such as infection, fracture, normal wear and tear or reaction to wear particles. This means patients often require revision surgery which can result in poorer functioning and is more expensive. Therefore, in deciding whether and when surgery should be conducted, knowing how long the replacements will last is extremely significant.

Featured Image:Piron Guillaume/ Unsplash

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