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The aim of this study was to identify predictors of return to work (RTW) after revision lower limb arthroplasty in patients of working age in the United Kingdom.We assessed 55 patients aged ≤ 65 years after revision total hip arthroplasty (THA). There were 43 women and 12 men with a mean age of 54 years (23 to 65). We also reviewed 30 patients after revision total knee arthroplasty (TKA). There were 14 women and 16 men with a mean age of 58 years (48 to 64). Preoperatively, age, gender, body mass index, social deprivation, mode of failure, length of primary implant survival, work status and nature, activity level (University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) score), and Oxford Hip and Knee Scores were recorded. Postoperatively, RTW status, Oxford Hip and Knee Scores, EuroQol-5D (EQ-5D), UCLA score, and Work, Osteoarthritis and Joint-Replacement Questionnaire (WORQ) scores were obtained. Univariate and multivariate analysis was performed.Overall, 95% (52/55) of patients were working before their revision THA. Afterwards, 33% (17/52) RTW by one year, 48% (25/52) had retired, and 19% (10/52) were receiving welfare benefit. RTW was associated with age, postoperative Oxford Hip Score, early THA failure (less than two years), mode of failure dislocation, and contralateral revision (p < 0.05). No patient returned to work after revision for dislocation. Only age remained a significant factor on multivariate analysis (p = 0.003), with 79% (11/14) of those less than 50 years of age returning to work, compared with 16% (6/38) of those aged fifty years or over.Before revision TKA, 93% (28/30) of patients were working. Postoperatively only 7% (2/28) returned to work by one year, 71% (20/28) had retired, and 21% (6/28) were receiving welfare benefits. UCLA scores improved after 43% of revision THAs and 44% of revision TKAs.After revision THA, age is the most significant predictor of RTW: only 16% of those over 50 years old return to work. Fewer patients return to work after early revision THA and none after revision for dislocation.After revision TKA, patients rarely return to work: none return to heavy or moderate manual work.Cite this article:Bone Joint J2018;100-B:1043–53.