The most common reasons for revision hip surgery are:
Mechanical loosening means that the attachment between the artificial joint and the bone has become loose. There are many reasons premature loosening can occur, such as those discussed below. Mechanical loosening can occur in both cemented and cementless artificial joints.
If an artificial hip joint becomes infected, it will usually become stiff and painful and begin to detach from the bone. An infected artificial hip joint will usually have to be replaced to cure the infection. It may be exchanged for a new artificial hip joint during the same operation. Antibiotics may be administered for several weeks or months after the exchange operation.
A fracture near an artificial hip joint that must be fixed surgically, may require replacement with a new hip implant. For example, if the thighbone (femur) breaks below the stem of an artificial hip, a new component with a longer stem may be implanted to hold the fracture together while it heals.
Instability means that the joint dislocates, which is very painful. This is much more common in the hip, where the metal ball can slip out of the artificial socket. If dislocation occurs contact your surgeon immediately. If dislocation happens more than once, your surgeon may recommend the artificial hip joint be replaced.
As a result of normal use, the metal, plastic or ceramic components used in the hip implant may begin to wear away. If the wear is discovered early the revision may only require replacing the worn out component. If the wear continues until metal is rubbing on metal, the whole joint may need to be replaced.
Finally, the metal may break due to the constant stress the artificial hip joint undergoes everyday. In weight bearing joints, such as the hip, this is greatly affected by weight and activity level.