4 Things to know before considering knee replacement surgery

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 25, 2017

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Quick Bites

  • Anesthesia can cause side-effects.
  • There is risk for deep vein thrombosis post surgery.
  • Patient can develop infection after surgery.

Despite the popularity it has gained over the years, knee replacement surgery remains an apprehensive matter. Often prescribed as a treatment for knee pain and reduction in mobility from degenerative arthritis or trauma, knee replacement surgery comes with its own set of risks. So, before you head for this treatment, it is essential to understand how things can go wrong.


Knee replacement surgery risk


Anesthesia has side-effects and adverse reactions

Like all other surgical procedures, knee replacement surgery also requires anesthesia to reduce pain during operation. Although being under the influence of anesthesia is regarded as safe in most cases, there remains potential threat of side-effects. Nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, inflammation of windpipe, damage to teeth, injury to vocal cord, injury to arteries are some to name a few.


Risk of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism

Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism are commonly known as blood clots. While deep vein thrombosis is used for blood clots in legs, pulmonary embolism is a term used for blood clots in lungs. Although all surgeries put you at risk for blood clots, orthopedic surgeries increase the risk by manifolds. Usually formed after first two weeks of surgery, blood clots can break off and travel to the heart or lungs, giving rise to fatal conditions.

Risk for developing infection

Just like diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis also reduces effectiveness of the immune system. If you suffer from any condition that weakens the immune system, you are at higher risk for developing infection after knee replacement surgery. Sometimes, the patient’s replaced knee can also become infected after months and even years of surgery.


Implants can fail

The surgery can fail in a number of ways, like the prosthetic knee not bending properly or becoming loose. Unfortunately, once the knee becomes loose, it can never be adjusted. Besides these implant failures, it is important to understand that these methods are shift-gap arrangements and they do not last forever. Implanted knees can wear out or break, and in some cases, these failures occur within few weeks of surgery.


Image source: Getty Images

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