What are the risks associated with this operation?
Knee replacement operations are a major surgical procedure that involves potential risks and complications you should be aware of and they include:-
The risks of anesthesia are small and rare. However, complications such as an allergic reaction to anesthetic agents and problems with blood pressure during surgery could cause a stroke or heart attack to occur. There also exists the very small chance that one of these problems could lead to death. These are rare but obviously significant risks.
During your surgery, care is taken to protect the blood vessels, nerves and bone around the joint. Rarely a fracture/break of a bone may occur or a blood vessel or nerve may be injured.
Any time there is a cut on the body there is a risk of infection. Infection of the skin and problems with wound healing occur in about 1 in 20 cases and usually resolve.
There is a 1% chance of infection occurring deep in the metal joint replacement. We routinely give antibiotics at the time of your surgery to reduce the risk of infection occurring. If deep infection is suspected or occurs, you will need further surgery to clean out the infection. This will require removal of the implant (knee replacement) and treatment with antibiotics for six weeks, before another knee replacement could be put back in.
Blood Clot Risks
Blood clots (thrombus) occur in about 20% of patients. In the short term there is a risk they may rarely break off and go to the lungs causing difficulty in breathing, this is called a pulmonary embolus. There is a small risk pulmonary embolus can lead to death. This is extremely rare.
In the long term, about 1 in 10 patients will have some residual swelling of the leg. In order to reduce the risks of blood clots forming, you will be given sock like devices to put on your feet following surgery which will help keep blood flowing in your legs. Pumps will be applied to the feet helping the circulation after surgery and blood thinning agents are generally given. All these measures help reduce the risks of clot formation.
If a blood clot does occur, you will need to take a tablet to help thin the blood for 3-6 months.
Risk of Persistent Pain after Knee Replacement Surgery
A small but significant number of patients continue to have persistent pain after knee replacement surgery despite a technically well performed operation. The pain is often better than before the operation but still troublesome.
» Read more about the benefits and risks of total knee replacement surgery
Total Knee Replacement Surgery, London
Mr. Jig Patel FRCS is an Orthopaedic Surgeon based in Central London and he specialises in total knee replacement surgery.
Please contact us if you have concerns about the risks of total knee replacement surgery and to arrange a consultation at our London kne clinic.