Once implanted, joint replacements should be periodically followed-up. This follow-up includes taking x-rays to assess the implants. The minimum recommended follow-up for implants with a known good track record involves review at 1 year and then at 5 year intervals. Personally we believe that after 15 years closer follow-up is a good idea with review every 2 years as problems can begin to appear around this time in some cases.
It has been suggested that this follow-up could be performed by general practitioners and Mr Sood and his team investigated this and published a paper on this topic. GP’s rely on reports of x-rays taken in local hospitals and do not see the x-rays themselves. We found that such reports did not always spot problems with the replacements and so potential problems could be inadvertently missed. We concluded that follow-up of joint replacements should only be performed by specialists, ideally hip surgeons but also possibly by other suitably trained staff.
Should primary care physicians perform routine long-term Follow-up of total hip arthroplasty patients? MC Nogaro, M Wijeratna, M Sood. Journal of Arthroscopy & Joint Surgery 1 (2014) 27-31