The knee replacement surgeries have become one of the common surgeries being performed the world because of the availability of better prosthesis and development of high technology in the field of surgery. Though these surgeries are very safe today but like any other major surgery there is always an element of risk involved and hence one must be aware of the possible complications which can occur due to the knee replacement. Of course the serious complications are reported only by around 2% of the patients only and they could be as described below:
- Complications Caused by Anesthesia
The knee replacement being a major surgery, the patient needs to be given either a general anesthesia which would put the patient to sleep or a local anesthesia to numb the leg so that the patient doesn’t feel any pain during the surgical procedure. Some patients may develop some side effects due to anesthesia like dizziness, vomiting, discomfort, shivering or drowsiness. The adverse reactions may be include injuries to veins, nerves and arteries, allergic reactions, wheezing, vocal cord injury, or an irregular heartbeat etc. Those consuming alcohol heavily or using drugs are at greater risk of developing problems because of anesthesia.
- Formation of Blood Clots
Whenever there is an injury to the body due to any reason including surgery, the auto protect system of the body releases increased fibrin strands in the body in an attempt to stop bleeding and form a clot at the site of injury but if an excessive amount of this material is released there could be a possibility of developing blood clots within the body. The clots forming in the legs are called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) whereas the formation of clots in the lungs is called Pulmonary Embolism (PE). The clots developed in the legs poses a minor risk but if they dislodge and get lodged in the heart or lungs, these clots can cause serious complications. There are high chances of developing DVT in patients undergoing total knee joint replacement therefore these patients are either advised to used compression stockings or are put on blood thinning agents.
- Development of Infection in Operated Area
The percentage of overall patients developing infections within 90 days of the surgery is as low as 1.8% only but those suffering from diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis are have a higher chance of developing infection post-surgery. Though proper precautions are taken during the operative procedure by using sterilized instruments and dresses, the doctors prescribe antibiotics to be used by the patients before and after surgery for few days.
- Implant Failure
Though high quality prosthesis is available today and most advanced technics are used for surgical procedures but an inherent risk of implant failure is always involved in all surgeries involving joint replacement. There could be different reasons for the same like malfunction of the implant itself, improper placement, infection, loosening, knee stiffness or instability. Incidence though quite low but in such cases a revision surgery need to be done to correct the problem.