Risks of hip and knee replacement
All surgeries have risks for complications. Knowing what these risks are and how they apply to you is part of deciding whether or not to have surgery.
You can help lower your chances of risks from surgery by planning ahead.
Risks That may Occur With any Surgery
All types of surgery involve risks. Some of these include:
It is normal to lose blood during and after hip or knee replacement surgery. Some people need a blood transfusion during surgery or during their recovery period in the hospital. You are less likely to need a transfusion if your red blood count is high enough before surgery. Some surgeries require you to donate blood before surgery. You should ask your provider about whether there is a need for that.
Much of the bleeding during surgery comes from the bone that has been cut. A bruise may occur if blood collects around the new joint or under the skin after surgery.
Your chances of having a blood clot form are higher during and soon after hip or knee replacement surgery. Sitting or lying down for long periods of time during and after surgery will make your blood move more slowly through your body. This increases your risk of a blood clot.
Two types of blood clots are:
To lower your risk of blood clots:
Possible Problems With Your new Joint
Some problems that may occur after hip or knee replacement surgery include:
Other problems from hip or knee replacement surgery can occur. Although they are rare, such problems include:
Harkess JW, Crockarell JR. Arthroplasty of the hip. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 3.
McDonald S, Page MJ, Beringer K, Wasiak J, Sprowson A. Preoperative education for hip or knee replacement. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;(5):CD003526. PMID: 24820247 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24820247.
Mihalko WM. Arthroplasty of the knee. In: Azar FM, Beaty JH, Canale ST, eds. Campbell's Operative Orthopaedics. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 7.
Review Date: 9/7/2017
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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