Modern replacements generally work well and are very durable. Failure rate is very low and most of them will last 20 years. However, there is a small failure rate and a revision of the old replacement may eventually be required.

Failure is usually associated with pain, which gradually gets worse. It is therefore essential that you see your surgeon, if you have persistent pain after a knee/hip replacement.

Causes of failure include:

  • Aseptic or Mechanical loosening (gradual wear and loosening)
  • Infection
  • Previous improper positioning or alignment of prosthesis, leading to early loosening
  • Fractures around the knee replacement
  • Breakage of prosthesis due to injury

Revision surgery is a specialized surgery requiring great skill and experience on the part of your surgeon. Results are very satisfactory, as modern revision implants have been very thoughtfully designed.

Unfortunately, revision surgery is very expensive and can cost the patient two to three times that of their primary replacement surgery.

Therefore, getting your knee replacement right in the first time from a good surgeon is essential to prevent later problems.

How does a prosthesis work? Will I be able to do all the things I did before I lost my limb? 

The majority of people who lose a limb can get back to a normal mode of functioning within a few to several months, depending on the location of the amputation as well as physical ability. How well they function depends primarily on their goals along with timely, comfortable prosthetic fitting, good follow-up care, and a “can do” attitude from themselves as well as their medical team.