Hip and knee replacements are designed to last many years, however, they are not indestructible. Over time, joint replacements can deteriorate and begin to loosen with the wear and tear of day-to-day use. Many variables stress a hip or knee replacement, so researchers/surgeons are continually performing studies to test and improve replacement prosthetics. As the population ages more and more hip and knee replacements will be needed.
The time and intensity of a replacement procedure depends on several factors such as the patient’s age and level of activity. Originally, plastic and metal were used in replacement prosthetic surgeries. In recent years, much of the plastic components have been replaced with ceramic or cobalt segments. Studies have shown that the plastic which was traditionally used can deteriorated over time. Small plastic debris particles trigger a response in the body to reject the implant and loosen the replacement, resulting in the need for a hip or knee revision.
Today, ceramic and metal are more common material used in prosthetic replacements because they are thought to have greater durability and resistance to disintegration. Ceramic-based prosthetic replacements are smooth, hard, and withstand wearing. This decreases weakening of the prosthetic or a need for replacement revisions over time. Ceramic hip and knee replacements wear down at a fraction of the rate which plastic does inside of the body, causing the ceramic replacement to remain sturdy and intact years after implantation.
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