Total hip replacement is one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the vast majority of cases, total hip replacement enables people to live more active lives without debilitating hip pain. Over time, however, a hip replacement can fail for a variety of reasons.
When this occurs, your doctor may recommend that you have a second operation to remove some or all of the parts of the original prosthesis and replace them with new ones. This procedure is called revision total hip replacement.
Although both procedures have the same goals—to relieve pain and improve function and quality of life—revision surgery is different than primary total hip replacement. Revision hip replacement is a longer, more complex procedure. It requires extensive planning, as well as the use of specialized implants and tools, in order to achieve a good result.
During primary total hip replacement surgery, the hip joint is replaced with an implant or prosthesis made of metal, plastic, and/or ceramic components. Although most total hip replacements are very successful, problems can develop over time. These problems may require a revision procedure to replace the original components.
There are different types of revision surgery. In some cases, only some components of the prosthesis need to be revised. In other cases, the whole prosthesis needs to be removed or replaced and the bone around the hip needs to be rebuilt with augments (metal pieces that substitute for missing bone) or bone graft.
Damage to bone and soft tissue around the hip may make it difficult for the doctor to use standard primary hip implants for revision hip replacement. In most revisions, the doctor will use specialized implants that are designed to compensate for the damaged bone and soft tissue.