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Risk of revision after total hip or knee replacement linked to age

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A new study published in the Lancet sheds light on the risk of further surgery being required after total replacement of the hip or knee, showing that younger patients are more likely to need surgical revision of the joint.

An increasing number of osteoarthritis patients are undergoing total knee and hip joint replacements, but the procedure comes with the risk that the joint might require subsequent surgical revision which, in turn, can lead to less favourable outcomes.

Researchers at NDORMS (Nuffield Department of Orthopaedics, Rheumatology and Musculoskeletal Sciences) at the University of Oxford examined data from over 100,000 patients who previously underwent joint replacements to enable prediction of the likelihood of requiring surgical revision of the joint.

They found that, while the lifetime risk of joints requiring revision is around 5% in all patients who receive joint replacements at aged 70 or above, this can rise to over a third for men in their early 50s. The median time to revision for patients who had surgery younger than age 60 was 4.4 years.

The researchers hope that the study will help patients, particularly younger patients, make more informed decisions about if and when to opt for joint replacement surgery.

Lead investigator Professor Andrew Price, Professor of Musculoskeletal Sciences at NDORMS, said: “This work is of great importance for all patients who are considering whether to undergo a joint replacement. It is critical that they have the best information available to make informed decisions and we believe this work is a significant contribution to achieve this goal.”