What Is Revision Surgery?
While joint replacements last a long time, they do not last forever. They may loosen, become infected or fracture like a regular bone. Revision surgery is surgery to fix a failed, infected or worn joint replacement.
Common Reasons for Revision Surgery
The main reasons for revision surgery are:
- Fracture of a bone close to the joint replacement, or a break in the implant itself
- Recurrent dislocation of the joint
- Loosening and degradation of the implant
Candidates for Revision Surgery
Candidates for revision surgery are patients with worn, fractured, unstable or infected artificial joints. Signs of infection include:
- Pain in the joint
- Wound drainage
- Warmth or redness around the joint
- Fever or chills
A joint revision surgery is usually more complex and time-consuming than the original arthroplasty. The surgeon will likely have to remove more of the bone than in the original surgery, and will also have to remove any cement that has held the artificial joint in place. The surgery may take several hours.
The surgeon will examine the original components and the surrounding tissues to ensure that they are free of infection. Preparing the bones for the revision parts may be difficult due to bone loss from removing the original parts. Then, the surgeon will insert the revision parts.
Recovery from a joint revision surgery is usually longer than the original arthroplasty, but the process is similar. Physicians will use multiple pain control techniques to speed recovery and rehabilitation. Physical therapy will be necessary to speed the healing process, strengthen the muscles around the joint, return range of motion and prepare the joint for bearing weight. In some cases, the doctor may prescribe anticoagulant medication to prevent blood clots.
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