It used to be the average age of a total hip recipient was mid-60s or older. Because the typical implant lasts around 15 to 20 years, surgeons waited until patients were older before giving them a total hip replacement (THR).
That policy is slowly changing based on several factors. First is demand. As adults remain active longer, the need for joint replacement earlier is increasing. Second, the materials and methods used with THR have improved dramatically over the last two decades. Better and better long-term results are being reported. The age and type of patients eligible for THR is expanding every year.
According to a large 25-year prospective (looking back) study, the average age of patients getting their first THR has been around 69 years old. The age range was from 24 to 88 and older. If there are no complications, today's THRs can last 25 years or more.
Some patients report pain, stiffness, and loss of physical function as time goes by. Most aging adults slow down their activity level anyway so the decline in function doesn't impair their life style. Researchers hope that with improved implants, better long-term results will make it possible to stay active longer.