Knee replacement is one of the many treatment options that doctors prescribe for those suffering from osteoporosis. This, however, is the last resort. Your doctor recommends it only when all other options fail, only if the damage to your joints is irreparable.
The Risks Of Knee Replacement Surgery – The procedures
The doctor removes the damaged cartilage and replaces it with an artificial alternative. The artificial joint comprises a metal, plastic, and other synthetic materials.
90% of patients experience considerable relief from pain after a total knee replacement surgery, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons says. Within a few days, patients regain their mobility and the ability to live a normal life. But every surgery comes with certain risks. And a total knee replacement is not an exception. They may range from pain or infection to blood clots. However, they seldom happen.
According to AAOS, surgeons in the US alone perform more than 600000 total knee replacements every year. Only 2% of the patients suffer major side effects. They may include the following:
- Blood clot
Knee replacement carries the risk of a blood clot like deep vein thrombosis. In rare instances, the clot travels through the bloodstream and causes blockage either in the heart or in the lung. This causes a condition called a pulmonary embolism and can be fatal.
Blood clots may happen during or after all types of surgeries. But it is more common during orthopedic procedures. Symptoms of blood clots generally appear 14 days after the surgery. But the clot can happen at any time, even during the surgery. Having a blood clot prolongs the time you need to stay in the hospital.
A clot that forms in your leg and stays there does not pose any threat. But if it gets dislodged and travels through the body, it may become serious. It may travel to your lung or heart and may cause a pulmonary embolism.
Your doctor may prescribe blood-thinning medications like warfarin minimize such a possibility. The professional may even recommend other methods like lower leg exercises or support stockings for the purpose. These improve the circulation of blood and prevent blood clots from forming. Discuss with your health professional if you have any risk factors like smoking. Furthermore, contact the professional at the earliest if you experience the symptoms like swelling, pain warmth, or pain in the affected area. Do not hesitate even for a moment if you experience difficulty breathing, a minor fever, or a cough. It may produce blood.
In case one observes any of the below-mentioned symptoms, it is advisable to contact a doctor immediately:
- Fever higher than 100 F
- Shaking chills
- Drainage from the affected area
- Redness, tenderness and swelling in the replaced knee
Your doctor will have to remove the infected material through surgery. Afterward, the professional use antibiotics to kill the bacteria. When the infection gets cleared, doctors perform another surgery to make things right.
- Your knee is prone to wear and tear
This is another risk someone who has had a total knee replacement may face. Prolonged use wears out your knee. It happens even to the strongest metal in use for the purpose. Intense physical activities like lifting weights will damage your replaced knee. Refrain from putting extra strain on the new joint.
Knee stiffness is another problem that those who undergo total knee replacement face. This often interferes with daily activities. You find it difficult to sit for long when getting out of a car or even moving around. And managing it is going to be a daunting task. Consult with your doctor and the professional may recommend options like special splints to stretch your knee. If it fails, your surgeon may need to perform another surgery in such a way as to improve your mobility.
At times, it will depend on your earlier state. If you opted for the surgery with a stiff knee, it will be there even after the replacement.
Allergy to the components of the metal used, complications due to wounds and bleeding, injury to the artery, and damage to the nerves are a few other complications patients may experience. The key to success here is to have practical expectations. Ask all your questions to your doctor and follow the instructions you receive.
You may also read Types Of Knee Replacement That Can Be Preferred!