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Cemented or Uncemented Artificial Joints

Topic Overview

A surgeon has a choice between using cemented or uncemented joints in a joint replacement surgery such as hip, knee, or shoulder replacement surgery.

This decision can be made before the surgery, based on your age and X-rays. Or it can be made during the surgery, when your surgeon opens up the joint and can see how the joint looks. One type of joint is not clearly better than the other.

Cemented joints form an immediate, strong bond to the bone, but they often loosen after 10 to 20 years. A cemented bond is strongest immediately after surgery and gets weaker over time.

Uncemented joints form a bond that may be weaker at first but may form a strong permanent bond as the bone fills in the porous coating. After a strong bond has formed between the bone and the replacement components, uncemented joints are less likely to weaken or loosen over time. Most loosening that can be seen on an X-ray doesn't cause symptoms and isn't a problem.

  • Doctors may be more likely to use uncemented joints in younger people whose bone is in good condition and likely to make a strong bond with the replacement component.
  • They may use cemented joints in older people or those whose bone is weaker and less likely to make a strong bond with the replacement components.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kenneth J. Koval, MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
Last Revised April 8, 2013

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