Everything you need to know about a prosthesis replacement

Unfortunately, the prostheses that are placed in the joints do not last a lifetime; whether they are hip prostheses, knee prostheses or shoulder prostheses. In spite of the advances in their manufacture and the improvement of the materials used, the specialists in Traumatology calculate that after 15 or 20 years of having been implanted, the prostheses must be changed. Why? Because the friction zones of the implants degrade and generate small particles that, little by little, undo the bone that supports the prosthesis. In these cases, the implants must be replaced.

Causes of prosthesis infection

The skin of human beings is colonized by bacteria. During surgery it is possible that one of these bacteria may come into contact with the prosthesis. Bacteria have the ability to attach themselves very firmly to the metal (adhesion) and to multiply forming biofilms. To avoid this situation, patients are given intravenous antibiotics and the skin is decontaminated with antiseptics before surgery. Nevertheless, it is estimated that 1% of all prosthesis surgeries can become infected.

Complications of Prosthesis Replacement Surgery

When a surgeon operates a prosthesis replacement, he faces three major problems that do not appear in a first prosthesis surgery.

  • Removing the prosthesis. In many cases it can be very anchored in the bone.
  • To solve the bone loss
  • Balancing the soft tissues (ligaments and tendons).

Currently, a prosthetic arsenal is available with modular implants that are assembled in the same surgical act, which allows to solve these problems.

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Care after prosthesis replacement

Prosthesis replacement is a complex surgical situation, but the postoperative period is usually not very different from that following primary surgery. Moreover, in many cases, because the prostheses are more constrained, i.e., they do not require the patient’s ligaments to function, patients immediately feel a great sense of security in the operated leg. This facilitates the recovery period.