What is revision surgery of the artificial hip and knee joints?
The joint replacement surgery is to treat the deformed hip or knee with use of the artificial joint. There is the life span of the artificial joint just like other machines, cars, and house appliances. Even if these products are well designed, you may need to repair or replace with a new one after 10 years of usage. In other words, the patient needs to make efforts on a daily-basis as maintenance. For the artificial joint, the patient is expected:
1. To strengthen the muscles to reduce the loading onto the artificial joint
2. To monitor the activities and count how many steps are taken with a pedometer
The above-mentioned are a few examples. Some patients experience ﾒwearﾓ at the mobile parts of the artificial joint or the breakage of the artificial joint due to the metal fatigue. When the wear progress too seriously, the implanted artificial joint needs to be replaced with a new one. Because the implanted joint is revised, it is called a ﾒrevision surgery of joint replacement.ﾓ
The most beneficial point of the joint replacement surgery is less pain than other treatment. This advantage could turn into disadvantage when the artificial joint becomes loose. Because the pain is not bad enough, the patient tends to hesitate to visit the surgeon who performed the implantation. This is exactly the situation the patient must avoid. After the joint surgery, the patient needs to visit the surgeon for check-up and radiographic evaluation once or twice a year even if the implanted joint feels fine for 5 years or 10 years. During these visits, the malfunction or loosening can be detected if any occurs. Neglecting these periodical visits may result in a serious surgery where all parts of the artificial joint need to be replaced. We are aware that some patients do not feel it necessary to receive the second surgery (revision surgery) because the pain is not yet serious. However, the earlier we detect any malfunction of the implanted joint and treat it with the minimal revision surgery just to fix the damaged part, the longer we can make the implanted joint last.
In order to prevent the serious revision surgery, we emphasize an importance of the periodical visits after the surgery.