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Hip Replacement in Young Adults: Special Considerations and Challenges

  • Post category:Health
  • Post last modified:October 25, 2023
  • Reading time:7 mins read

Hip replacement surgery, a medical procedure primarily associated with the elderly, is increasingly becoming a necessity for young adults as well. While it might seem surprising, numerous factors, including conditions like osteoarthritis and traumatic injuries, can lead to hip joint deterioration in younger individuals. 

As a result, these individuals are seeking hip replacement to alleviate pain and regain mobility.

In this article, we will explore the distinct challenges faced by the younger population undergoing the surgery.

Why Do Young Adults Need Hip Replacement Surgery

Several common reasons why younger individuals may need hip replacement surgery include:

1. Osteoarthritis: Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect individuals of all ages. It can lead to the breakdown of cartilage in the hip joint, causing pain, stiffness, and swelling.

2. Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a congenital condition where the hip joint’s ball and socket do not fit together properly. This can result in joint instability and premature wear and tear.

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis: Young adults may experience hip problems due to autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, which causes joint inflammation, including in the hip joint.

4. Avascular Necrosis: This happens when the blood supply to the hip bone is disrupted. It leads to the death of bone tissue and the collapse of the hip joint.

5. Trauma: Severe hip injuries, such as fractures, can also necessitate hip replacement surgery to restore function and reduce pain.

Novant Health notes that a shift in the age demographic seeking hip replacement can also be attributed to modern lifestyles. Younger individuals are more physically active and aim to maintain their active lifestyles well into their later years. 

Obesity and diabetes, which are on the rise, can also contribute to the need for hip replacement among younger individuals. Excess weight places added stress on the hip joints, leading to cartilage damage and degenerative joint disease. 

Special Considerations for Young Adults

When performing hip replacement surgery, several crucial considerations come into play to ensure long-term success and patient satisfaction. 

Preserving bone integrity stands out as a paramount concern. Minimizing bone removal during surgery is vital, reducing the need for extensive revisions in the future, thus prolonging the lifespan of the implant.

Another crucial aspect is recognizing the high activity level typical of young adults. To accommodate their dynamic lifestyles, selecting an implant that can endure rigorous physical activities is imperative. 

Studies, notably those focusing on dual mobility designs, have demonstrated significant advantages in this regard. Dual mobility implants virtually eliminate the risk of dislocation, a common complication post-hip replacement surgery and the leading cause of revisions. 

For active young patients who stress their hips with demanding activities, this innovation becomes particularly valuable.

Research conducted at institutions like HSS supports the effectiveness of dual mobility implants. In a study comparing dual mobility systems with traditional fixed-bearing implants in age-matched patient groups, the results were compelling. At the three-year follow-up, patients with dual mobility implants experienced zero dislocations. In contrast, those with standard fixed-bearing implants faced a dislocation rate of 5.1%, necessitating revision surgery. 

Challenges of Hip Replacement Surgery in Young Adults

Unlike older patients, young adults may outlive the lifespan of their initial hip implant. This necessitates a more complex and risky revision procedure when the implant fails or causes significant discomfort. 

Revision surgeries are inherently more complicated and carry a higher risk of complications, making them a major concern for patients seeking long-term solutions.

Additionally, hip replacement surgery can dramatically impact the quality of life for young adults. The post-surgery recovery period, often spanning several months, demands restricted activity levels and can entail persistent pain and discomfort. This adjustment period can be mentally and emotionally challenging, impacting the patient’s overall well-being.

Furthermore, concerns have been raised due to alleged defects in joint replacement devices, including hip implants, manufactured by Exactech. Patients who received these devices reported issues such as pain, instability, and the need for revision surgeries.

The Exactech lawsuit filed across the United States reflects the gravity of the situation. It emphasizes the importance of addressing the challenges faced by young adults undergoing hip replacement surgeries. 

TorHoerman Law notes that the recalls on Exactech hip replacements underscore the potential dangers associated with these implants. Packaging errors have led to the oxidation of polyethylene parts, degrading them over time and necessitating further surgeries. 

Advancements in Implant Technology

Advancements in hip replacement implant technology have greatly improved the outcomes and longevity of the procedure. These advancements encompass various aspects, such as materials, designs, and surgical techniques, all tailored to meet the specific needs of this demographic.

According to WebMD, one of the most remarkable developments is the enhanced durability of replacement joints. In the past, these implants provided relief for approximately 15 years, necessitating a second replacement. However, contemporary implants can last up to 25 years or more. 

The quality of materials used in implants has also seen substantial improvements. This has not only increased their longevity but also reduced the risk of complications. 

Additionally, surgical techniques have advanced significantly, thanks to better understanding and training. Surgeons now benefit from improved precision and instrumentation, leading to enhanced surgical outcomes. 


The landscape of hip replacement surgery has been transformed by significant advancements in implant technology, materials, and surgical techniques. For young patients, these developments offer not only relief from debilitating pain but also the promise of an improved quality of life. 

As medical science continues to advance, the future holds even more promise, ensuring that hip replacement surgeries become increasingly effective. Individuals can now approach the procedure with optimism, knowing that these innovations are paving the way for a pain-free future.