Misconception #5: I heard that joint replacement surgery can only be done over one time.
While our goal is to do the best possible operation the first time, in younger patients, joint replacements can wear out. The average life expectancy of a joint replacement is variable depending on the patient’s activity level and weight. If there is the need for revision surgery due to wear, loosening, or other factors, revision surgery can be carried out more than once. The factors that determine the quality of the revision are the amount of bone and soft tissue damage caused by the initial operation and/or its failure.
Misconception #4: I heard that you have to go to a large hospital to have a joint replacement procedure.
More joint replacement operations are done in smaller hospitals than large teaching institutions in the United States. However, there have been studies showing that the surgeon, volume, and hospital volume are directly related to outcomes; i.e., the more procedures a surgeon does, the better the results.
Misconception #3: I heard that ceramic-on-ceramic total hips are the best.
There are three types of bearing surfaces used in total hip replacements. These include metal-on-polyethylene (a form of plastic that currently accounts for approximately 80% of the market in the United States), metal-on-metal, and ceramic-on-ceramic. Each bearing surface has its pluses and minuses. There is no one “best bearing surface.” Talk to your orthopedic surgeon about which bearing surface may be right for you.
Misconception #2: Uncemented total joints are better than cemented total joints.
The type of fixation used for a hip or knee replacement is dependent on bone quality and surgeon preference. Excellent results have been obtained with both cemented and cementless total hip replacements. With regard to knee replacements, there is a higher rate of success with cemented implants when compared to uncemented or cementless implants.
Misconception #1: Minimally invasive total joint replacement is the standard of care now in the United States.
While there has been a movement toward small-incision surgery, the majority of joint replacements done in the United States are performed through a more moderate incision. The interest in “less-invasive surgery” has been tempered by recent reports of increased complications through small-incision operations. The pendulum seems to be swinging in the direction of better visualization and slightly larger incisions, but these incisions are smaller than those commonly used 10 to 15 years ago.