All implants have a limited life expectancy depending on an individual's age, weight, activity level and medical condition. A total joint implant's longevity will vary in every patient. It is important to remember that an implant is a medical device subject to wear that may lead to mechanical failure. While it is important to follow all of your surgeon's recommendations after surgery, there is no guarantee that your particular implant will last for any specific length of time.

Despite the success of these procedures, about ten percent of implants will stop working resulting in a revision surgery to remove the current implants and replace them with new components. The knee pain doctors at Memorial Hermann Joint Centers are skilled in knee replacement revisions and can get you feeling back to your old self.

Causes of Surgery Revision

The decision to perform a revision joint replacement is based on several factors. The joint may become painful or swollen, due to implant loosening, material wear, or infection. Function of the implant may deteriorate over time in conjunction with these issues.

The most common reason for revision is loosening of the artificial surface from the bone. Wearing of the plastic spacer may also result in the need for a new spacer.

Reasons for implant failure include:

  • Infection
  • Implant loosening
  • Dislocation
  • Patient specific issues: Younger, active patients have a higher rate of revision surgery. Obese patients have a higher risk of wear and implant loosening.


A fusion, also known as an arthrodesis may be used as an alternative to revision surgery. This procedure generally used in situations where an infection cannot be eradicated.

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